Help us stop proposed mid-year budget cuts in Senate File 2117 by contacting Senators as soon as possible. The Republican leaders who are pushing these cuts have told us we may be voting on them as soon as Thursday.
Here are some of the proposed mid-year budget cuts in SF 2117:
- Cutting our universities by $19.2 million – This cut would be roughly $250 per student at Iowa, Iowa State, and UNI, when state support for our universities has already been cut below 1998 levels. It would raise the cost and threaten the quality of higher education in Iowa.
- Cutting our community colleges by $5.4 million – This cut would be another step in the wrong direction for job training and quality, affordable higher education, especially after last year’s mid-year cuts to our community colleges.
- Cutting our judicial system by $4.8 million – These cuts would jeopardize public safety (including timely criminal prosecutions and domestic abuse cases), mental health services provided through the courts, specialty courts, and access to justice for all Iowans.
- Cutting human services by $9.9 million – This cut would come after the Department of Human Services has already reduced its work force by 1,135 and would further endanger services for Iowa’s most vulnerable children and adults.
- Cutting corrections by $3.4 million – This cut would come on top of the closing of four correctional facilities last year (Luster Heights, John Bennett Center, Clarinda Lodge, and Sheldon Regional Treatment Facility) that were helping inmates transition back to their communities. Correctional workers are already endangered by staffing shortages.
The state does not need to make any of these cuts in the middle of the year. We have more than $600 million in our rainy day funds, and Republicans have proposed increasing that amount by more than $70 million. Instead of increasing the rainy day funds, let’s avoid these damaging cuts now – cuts that would hurt students, services, and our economy – and work on a new economic strategy to get our state’s economy growing. We cannot cut our way to prosperity.
Here are my ideas for a more successful economic strategy to end the recurring budget problems facing our state:
1. Stop giving away big tax breaks to corporations and the wealthiest individuals and restore progressive taxation;
2. Use fiscal discipline to avoid excessive administrative and other waste;
3. Raise the minimum wage and restore workers’ rights to promote higher wages; and
4. Make smart investments in education, training, infrastructure, research, public health, clean energy, clean water and natural resources to promote job creation, higher wages, and lower costs for government in the future.
I’m excited about our future, but what we have to do this week is stop these cuts. Thanks in advance for contacting Senators today.
Senator Rob Hogg