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January 14th, 2011

Paulsen: The First Week

The 84th General Assembly got underway on Monday, January 10th with the formal swearing in of legislators and speeches given by the House leadership.  With my family by my side, it was an honor to be sworn in as the 71st Speaker of the Iowa House.  You can read my full speech below.

Typically, the first week of session consists of a lot of formalities which leaves little time for action.  This year however, House Republicans are doing things a little differently.  House Republicans are eager to get to work on the people’s business so this week a subcommittee on the Taxpayers First Act took place.  It went on to pass the full Appropriations committee on Wednesday.

The Taxpayers First Act as it passed committee saves Iowa taxpayers over a half a billion dollars in addition to setting aside $327 million in tax relief.  The bill also provides $25 million to support un-funded state commitment to remove Iowans from wait lists for mental health services – a core responsibility the state must deliver to Iowans in need of service.

Iowans made clear this fall that they want to their representative government do less and spend less – this bill is a first step in that direction.  We will streamline all funds over the next three years.  This is not about the validity of programs, but instead it is the beginning of a discussion about what government can afford.  Should the state be spending money on t-shirts for smoking cessation programs instead of the hundreds of people who are on the mental health waiting list?  Or are we willing to pull State Troopers off the road to buy more office supplies?

Many of the ideas in the Taxpayers First Act came directly from Iowans.  As this bill moves through the process, we continue our efforts to hear from Iowans. Next week there will be a public hearing held on Tuesday, January 18th from 6:30pm to 8:30pm in the House chamber.  To sign up to speak on the bill, feel free to call (515) 281-5129.

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