on the Taxpayers

Last week I had the opportunity to speak on the floor of the House during the Public Forum held for House File 45, otherwise known as the Taxpayer First Act.  I spoke in favor of the bill, as it is a much needed first step in fiscal responsibility. It is predicted that the spending reductions would save the Iowa taxpayers $500 million over three years. Now of course this is just a start, and won’t matter at all if our representatives use it as an excuse to spend that money somewhere else. Here are some of the highlights from the bill:

  • Create a Tax Relief Fund to capture any remaining general fund surplus
  • Charge all state employees a minimum $50 monthly fee for health insurance.
  • Prohibit new vehicle purchases for general use, mandate Administration and Regulation budget subcommittee to create a new system for outsourcing the fleet and leasing vehicles, eliminate all add-ons
  • Reduce office supplies, service contracts, equipment purchases by 50 percent
  • Combine all state information technology systems (exempt Homeland Security)
  • Direct the Department of Administrative Services to develop a request for proposal (RFP) to sell or lease the Iowa Communications Network
  • Reduce funding for library acquisitions at Regents universities by 50 percent
  • Reduce the Department of Natural Resources land acquisition for FY 2011 by 100 percent
  • Freeze out-of-state travel funded from the general fund (allow a waiver process)
  • End all state benefits to adult illegal immigrants
  • Enforce residency requirements for all human services programs
  • Combine the administrative functions at the Regents universities to find efficiencies
  • Eliminate voluntary preschool & create a new voucher program that will be based on income level
  • Eliminate Power Fund, after current liabilities are funded
  • Eliminate Office of Energy Independence, Ag & DNR budget sub decides responsibilities
  • Eliminate core curriculum, Education Committee sets new standards as of July 1, 2011
  • Cancel all Regents university sabbaticals for 18 months
  • Eliminate Just Eliminate Lies, Quitline Iowa and other smoking cessation efforts
  • Eliminate the state family planning waiver
  • Eliminate the Rebuild Iowa Office, shift responsibility to Homeland Security
  • Cut marketing efforts that are funded by the general fund by 50 percent & creates a master marketing contract
  • Eliminate $8.5 million for rail project, return funds to the original source
  • Eliminate the $30 million for sustainable communities and heated sidewalks
  • Cut the Area Education Associations (AEAs) by $10 million, have them use reserves or make cuts to fund the difference
  • Eliminate the Grow Iowa Values Fund beginning July 1, 2011, freeze remaining appropriations for FY 2011
  • Eliminate the “Save our small business” fund
  • Repeal current mental health statute, mandate new system that includes $125 million in dollar-for-dollar property tax relief by July 1, 2013
  • Eliminate the Generation Iowa Commission

We cannot keep spending money we don’t have; we need to learn to live within our means. Iowans want less taxes and the ability to earn a living; not the ability to get more stuff paid for by their fellow taxpayers. Preschool and state services are not going to do a bit of good if mommy and daddy don’t have a job. These cuts are going to be painful for some, no doubt. But unfortunately, when our government goes on a drunken spending spree, it is the taxpayer who always has to deal with the hangover.

“One difference between death and taxes is that death doesn’t get worse every time Congress meets”. Will Rogers (1879-1935), American cowboy, humorist, social commentator, and vaudeville performer.

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