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Local lawmakers react to governor’s announcement

Published: Thursday, Sept. 21, 2017 9:58 a.m. CDT • Updated: Thursday, Sept. 21, 2017 10:20 a.m. CDT

Even though they won’t be called back into a special session, local lawmakers still have concerns about the state’s budget issues. Rep. Wes Breckenridge, D-Newton, said that the issue raises “red flags” in the way state officials have handled the budget.

“My biggest concern is that we’re putting off this debt to carry over into 2018, and that’s going to cost us in the end,” Breckenridge said. “We need to start being more fiscally responsible with our money.”

Breckenridge said he’s concerned some bills may not be paid, or services that taxpayers are relying on may be cut, an idea he’s uncomfortable with. Warning “hard choices” may be ahead, Breckenridge said lawmakers will need to look over the budget carefully when they return in January and find a way to fix the state’s budget shortfall.

“We need a broader approach to fixing our budget issues, what we’re doing is apparently not working,” Breckenridge said.

As a member of the appropriations committee Breckenridge said it’s the Legislature’s responsibility to make sure taxpayers get a good return on their money. Part of that return includes making sure tax incentive deals represent the same value for the taxpayer that they do for the businesses they draw into the state.

“We need to make sure that we’re getting the bang for our buck,” Breckenridge said.

Sen. Chaz Allen, D-Newton, said he agreed with Breckenridge. In a statement released Wednesday night Allen said he’s still waiting to see where things end up with the budget once the final numbers are released at the end of this month. Allen said he expects legislators will have to start in January by figuring out where to make cuts to cover the shortfall the state is expecting.

“Though I have concerns about how the state of Iowa went from a $100 million shortfall to only a $14.6 million shortfall, the revenue estimates are still preliminary and could change,” Allen said. “I’ll withhold judgment until we close the books on Sept. 30 and can see the actual numbers.”

Contact David Dolmage at 641-792-3121 ext. 6532 or ddolmage@newtondailynews.com