Spending the state surplus, Northwest IA lawmakers have different ideas
By Kristen Johnson, Multimedia Journalist/ Weekend Anchor - bio | email
With Iowa looking at a half billion dollar surplus next year, how's that money going to be spent? Lawmakers seem split on where it should go.
Some want to see it injected into programs that have faced cuts in recent budget cycles.
Others say it should be used for property tax reform or returned to the tax payers.
"If there's a way for us to make sure that vulnerable citizens are being supported while also making sure that we try to be responsible to tax payers, provide relief and equitable circumstance. A blend of both is possible," said Rep. Chris Hall (D), of Sioux City.
"I'm not in favor of taking those surpluses, which is one-time money, and spending them on ongoing programs," said Rep. Ron Jorgenson (R), of Sioux City.
"We should be careful with any surpluses that we have in the present time. Our economy could take a downturn over the next year. We want to make sure that we're being prudent in our spending of any of our tax dollars," said Rep-elect David Dawson (D), of Sioux City.
"I think you can find a compromise doing both; giving some back to the taxpayers, and making sure that we fully fund the programs and services that Iowa has to give," said Rep. Chuck Soderberg (R), of Le Mars.
"There are many outlying expenses that we have for Medicaid, education reform, allowable growth, those types of things that we really need to take into account before we spend that money," pointed out Sen. Bill Anderson (R), of Pierson.
"We've got other things that are going to expand the appetite of government. I think right now we've got to wait and see before we get on this spending spree. Me personally, I think it should go back to property tax reform, and give it back to the people," added Sen. Rick Bertrand (R), of Sioux City.
Lawmakers caution the $600-million surplus could go away if Congress doesn't act on the fiscal cliff.
Iowa stands to lose $700-million from federal cuts.
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