Taylor: Schools get first bite of pie

House Republicans released their 2016 general fund budget targets, and for the fifth year in a row, we have proposed a budget that spends less than the state will take in.

For fiscal year 2016, the state would spend $7,168,144,634. This amounts to a 2.48 percent increase in state spending and spends 99.9 percent of the Revenue Estimating Conference’s latest estimate for ongoing revenue.

The general fund would be spent as follows:

Administration & Regulation: $49,800,000 (decrease of $1,995,769)

Agriculture & Natural Resources: $42,000,000 (decrease of $1,111,995)

Economic Development: $41,400,000 (decrease of $1,181,886)

Education: $977,578,044 (decrease of $8,558,321)

Health & Human Services: (decrease of $14,859,686)

Justice Systems: (decrease of $3,380,575)

Standings: (increase of $204,905,562)

As has been stated since the start of the session, K-12 education which is funded out of the standings budget area is getting the first bite of the apple, with funding for the teacher leadership program as well as a 1.25 percent increase in supplemental state aid to schools.

Also, included in the Republican budget is the backfill to local governments for the property tax cut. The budget will also address mandatory increases in Medicaid due to further declines in federal funding participation.

House Republicans believe that it is important to lead by example when holding the line on spending. This is done by reducing the Legislature’s own budget by over $1 million below the 2015 level.

We’re not buying a used car. Senate Democrats started off at 6 percent or $294 million, then moved to 4 percent or $212 million and now to 2.625 percent or to $155 million. This has been a cold political calculation from the start for Senate Democrats. They believe it is politically advantageous for them to cast Republicans as anti-education. They are interested in political gain, not funding schools.

The first bill House Republicans approved in 2015 was school funding. This could have been solved in February. Schools are getting the first bite of the apple when it comes to state spending.

STATE REP. ROB TAYLOR, R-West Des Moines, represents District 44, which includes portions of Clive, Waukee and West Des Moines in Dallas County. He can be reached by phone at 281-3221 or by email at rob.taylor@legis.iowa.gov.

Story from DSM Register: http://www.desmoinesregister.com/story/news/local/community/2015/05/01/rob-taylor-education-funding-budget/26685063/

 

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