This week Governor Branstad gave his budget address to the House and Senate. Under the state Constitution, the governor proposes a budget and the Legislature approves a budget. This address by the governor was his proposal that will serve as a starting point for us to develop the Fiscal Year 2012 budget moving forward.
While on the campaign trail, Gov. Branstad vowed to cut the budget and create an environment that encourages job growth, similarly to House Republicans. It’s clear in his proposal that he laid out on Thursday that he intends to follow through on that vision. His budget request does both of these tasks as most government agencies are cut by 6 percent and he proposes to reduce the corporate income tax and reduce commercial property taxes.
The Fiscal Year 2011 budget (that was passed by Legislative Democrats and signed by Gov. Culver) spends $6.3 billion. Governor Branstad’s recommendation for Fiscal Year 2012 is just over $6.1 billion, or a decrease of $185 million compared to FY 2011. I’m pleased that the governor has planned to cut the budget. House Republicans will continue to go through the budget, working with the governor, to find even more savings and budget reductions.
This week the House also passed House File 94 and House File 95. Both of these bills I mentioned last week.
House File 94 is a bill that establishes a searchable state budget database. This will bring more transparency and accountability to state government. Iowans deserve to know in detail how their tax dollars are being spent, and this is an easy way for them to dive into the budgets. This bill passed unanimously on a vote of 98 to 0.
House File 95 requires voters to show photo identification on Election Day in order to vote. This measure was a priority for the Secretary of State to safeguard Iowans from voter fraud.
Both bills were sent to the Senate for their consideration.
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