Remarks by Senator Joe Bolkcom, Ranking Member of the Senate Appropriations Committee on SF 130, the Republican budget cut bill
There are a lot of reasons to oppose this legislation. The biggest reason is that it will hurt growth in our state. Here’s how.
Community colleges and our public universities have just experienced the worst decade of state support in history.
The most damaging cuts in this bill will continue to cause significant harm to our community colleges and universities. These cuts will result in tuition increases for every community college and public university student and family in Iowa.
This bill creates more student debt. More graduates will leave Iowa for well-paying jobs to other states to pay off their student debt.
More barriers to success and GROWTH, GROWTH, GROWTH.
Our employers are crying for a more skilled and educated workforce. This bill tells them to go fish.
And broken promises. You all campaigned on supporting education and your first vote on the senate floor cuts education. Nice broken promise.
These cuts will put our troubled families and children even more are at risk and less healthy.
These cuts will further reduce access to quality health care, mental health care and other critical services, at a time when the safety net for our seniors, people with disabilities and children is already in trouble.
Misguided budget priorities have led to: The death of vulnerable Iowans.
The closure of two Mental Health Institutes, which has reduced access to mental health services.
Privatizing Medicaid, which has thrown the health care of hundreds of thousands of Iowans into chaos and threatened the financial wellbeing of health care providers.
The safety of our citizens has been compromised in this bill.
Our prisons, which are already understaffed, will no doubt face additional staffing cuts.
That means our prisons become less safe and our remaining correctional offers are put in harm’s way.
We’re cutting public safety dollars that will hurt our ability to ensure we have police to keep our communities safe.
We’re cutting the courts—hurting the ability to prosecute criminals, get offenders through drug court programs.
We’re also making one of our three coequal branches of government, the only branch with no true role in this process, to bear the burden of these midyear cuts that will only delay and effectively deny justice to Iowans.
These cuts to public safety, corrections, and the judicial system are simply dangerous.
It is our responsibility to keep Iowans safe and we will fail to meet that obligation with these irresponsible cuts.
This bill also gives away our authority to make spending decisions about these critical programs to unelected officials? I thought that is why we were elected.
The bill creates a secret plan to cut $11.5 million in services to Iowans and $3.8 unspecified Human Services program cuts.
The bill gives the Department of Management and department heads the authority to end programs that we enacted.
You can’t determine priorities and manage spending if you leave it all to bureaucrats.
The biggest disappointment of all is the fact that the burden of the cuts are ALL being shouldered by average Iowans.
Working families. The 99 percent. The people struggling to make ends meet.
You are asking nothing of the fat cats that have benefitted from the record tax cuts and special tax giveaways.
The fastest growing part of the our government and state spending.
No shared sacrifice – No fair share of the burden. Nothing. Nada. Zero.
So much for the standing up for working people.
In fact the special tax giveaways are so unfair that the people that do such a good job cleaning this building EACH pay more in state taxes than several of the most profitable fortune 500 companies operating in Iowa.
Hard to believe? It’s a fact.
But it gets even worse. Not only will these large corporations not pay any state income taxes this year, BUT they will also receive $40-$50 million in refund checks paid for by already overtaxed, over-worked Iowans.
It is time to end this special tax giveaway. It’s not fair and we can’t afford it.
But there’s more. Remember the worst economic development deal ever in state history. Iowa taxpayers got snookered out of $110 million for the Egyptian Fertilizer plant deal. You guys loved that plan.
Seems like there is no better time to drain the swamp!
All of these tax giveaways have not resulted in growth or increased state revenues as you have prayed they would.
In fact, these tax cuts have hurt our growth and economy.
Real growth will come when more Iowans have the technical skills and advanced education they need to help our employers and economy strive.
With your budget cuts you will prevent more Iowans from gaining the skills and education they were hoping to achieve.
You will make vulnerable Iowans even more at risk.
You will make our communities less safe.
There is a better approach.