After a long and lengthy debate on the Iowa House passed SF 376, which allows the state to borrow $535 million. This is one part of Governor Culver’s bonding proposal. The bill passed at 1:52 a.m. by a vote of 53 to 43, 4 members were absent.
Throughout the debate, Republicans repeatedly stated that they did not object to spending state dollars on flood recovery items. At one point in the debate, Rep. Tyler Olson admitted that the portion of the bonding proposal that will be used for flood relief equaled around $245 million.
Republicans said that instead of borrowing money and paying bond payments from gambling revenues to the tune of $50 million a year, that they could instead implement a five year pay-as-you-go program so the state would not have to borrow money. One Republican even said the he favored using the cash reserves instead of borrowing money and paying it back over 20 years. Those suggestions went no where.
Earlier in the night, republicans filed a letter of dissent for violating the constitution, which every Republican signed. Article seven of the constitution limits the state’s debt to $250,000.
Article III Section 10 of the Constitution of the State of Iowa provides:
Protest – record of vote – Every member of the general assembly shall have the liberty to dissent from, or protest against any act or resolution which he may think injurious to the public, or an individual, and have the reasons for his dissent entered on the journals; and the yeas and nays of the members of either house, on any question, shall, at the desire of any two members present, be entered on the journals.
I have here a written statement explaining one reason inter alia for our dissent on Senate File 376 to be placed into the journal as provided by Article III Section 10.
Article VII Section 2 of the Constitution of the State of Iowa, states “The state may contract debts to supply casual deficits or failures in revenues, or to meet expenses not otherwise provided for; but the aggregate amount of such debts, direct and contingent, whether contracted by virtue of one or more acts of the general assembly, or at different periods of time, shall never exceed the sum of two hundred and fifty thousand dollars; and the money arising from the creation of such debts, shall be applied to the purpose for which it was obtained, or to repay the debts so contracted, and to no other purpose whatever.”
On 24 April 2009, the Iowa House passed Senate File 376, which issues bond debt of $475 million. This is clearly above the $250,000 threshold set by Article VII of the Constitution. Therefore, it is our belief that the bill is unconstitutional.
For this and other reasons we, the undersigned, object to Senate File 376 being before the body and voted against passage of the bill.
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