Last week I was back in Des Moines as the 2012 legislative session gaveled in.
As usual, the Governor delivered his Condition of the State Address the first week. Governor Branstad also gave us his budget proposal the day of the address. This is a bit unusual. I believe there has only been one other time in the past 13 years that a Governor has delivered his budget proposal this early (Governor Vilsack did it once). This should allow the House/Senate budget committees to prepare their budget targets earlier than usual.
Since Republicans regained the majority in the House last year, we have been committed to following these three principles when developing the state's budget:
Align ongoing revenue with ongoing spending
No one-time revenue for ongoing spending
No intentional underfunding of programs (for example - claiming that a program will only cost half the actual cost and then hoping we will have more money to fully fund it later)
The governor's budget largely fulfills these three commitments. The governor recommends appropriating $6.244 billion, and available ongoing revenue for spending is estimated at $6.251 billion. Therefore the governor's budget spends less than the state takes in.
By law, we could spend $6.475 billion but that includes the Fiscal Year 2012 ending balance. Spending the balance from the previous year is one of the bad budgeting practices that have gotten us in trouble in the past. Gov. Branstad, to his credit, has not done that.
I am sure that after we do a line-by-line review of the budget, we will have some differences with the Governor, but this budget appears to be a very good starting point.
House proceedings on video
Speaker Kraig Paulsen has implemented a new video streaming capability in the House this year. For the first time, Iowans will have the ability to access live video and audio of House floor debate and proceedings. You can access the stream here:
Typically we gavel in each Monday at 1 p.m. and the rest of the week at 8:30 a.m. Early in the session there is not much action on the House floor, as bills are being prepared in committee and subcommittee. As the session moves along more time will be spent on floor debate and you will now have the ability to watch from home. I will continue to urge my colleagues to provide more convenient access to the legislative process and increase transparency and openness for Iowans.
Contact Rep. Deyoe at 515-382-2352 or via email at:?Dave.Deyoe@legis.state.ia.us