Budget cuts are result of tax giveaways

Republican lawmakers announced last week they will slash over $117 million from the state budget in the current fiscal year. The mid-year budget cuts include an $18 million cut to Iowa’s three state universities, a $3 million reduction to community colleges, $38 million cut to Medicaid and human services and another $5.5 million cut to public safety.

Why is Iowa in the position of struggling to pay its bills despite a relatively strong economy? The cuts come after Branstad and Republicans dramatically increased new tax giveaways to out-of-state corporations in the last few years. While claiming concerns about balancing the budget, Republicans have also broken their own promise by spending more money than the state takes in for the last three years in a row.

A major tax cut enacted several years ago on commercial buildings and other properties has sliced hundreds of millions of dollars from the state budget. Signed into law in 2013 by Republican Gov. Terry Branstad, the largest tax cut in state history has gradually cost Iowa more than $400 million over several years. A separate $300 million will hit Iowa’s main spending fund this budget year, and that cost is slated to be permanent for the years to come. The hope that these cuts would grow the economy has not been the case.

After an intense debate in the Senate on Thursday morning, they voted to approve Senate File 130 that seeks to address a budget shortfall of $118 million for this fiscal year. The vote was 28-19, Republicans voting in favor and Democrats against. The bill is to be debated in the House on Monday. Hardworking Iowans who work in human services, public safety and corrections will be adversely affected. Community colleges and state universities which Iowa needs to support to build a skilled workforce, will be negatively impacted.

Hundreds of Iowans came to the Capitol this week to stand up for women and stop a Republican bill that would leave thousands of Iowa women without access to critical health care services, like cancer screenings, birth control and STD tests. Instead of listening to these pressing concerns, the Republican subcommittee chair ended the meeting after just 30 minutes and shut down the opportunity for Iowans to voice their opinions.

Contact Rep. Wes Breckenridge
at 641-521-6714
or wes.breckenridge@legis.iowa.gov