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News From the Hill from Rep. Rob Taylor

Rob TaylorBy The Iowa Statesman

 

Rep. Rob Taylor (R-West Des Moines) has released his weekly News From the Hill legislative update. Scroll down to read it in its entirety.

Your Iowa Legislature is in full swing, and we have just completed the second funnel. This is the Legislature’s self-imposed deadline for bills, and policy bills that do not clear committees this week are dead for the year. Since taking office, one of the major issues Iowans have reached out to me about is the state’s budget. I am a firm believer that the state must live within its means, just like Iowans do at home. I will work through the budget proposals to ensure they; spend less than the state collects, don’t use one-time money for on-going needs, don’t balance the budget by intentionally underfunding programs and keep the taxpayers in mind, and return unused money to our pockets. I will work to make sure your priorities are funded while also using commonsense budgeting that sticks to our shared priorities. Here are a few areas I have been focusing on the last couple weeks.

 

A Bill to Remedy Mental Health Professional Shortages

Last week I had the honor of running one of many bills to help Iowa cope with the Mental Health shortage issues we are facing in our state. Overseeing and providing assistance to those with mental health needs is a top concern. This issue affects not only the wellbeing of the patient but potentially the community around them. HF534 provides access to the funds which have already been designated to bring and retain mental health professionals.

On the floor I introduced amendment H-1114 which passed overwhelmingly. The amendment broadens the criteria so that more agencies could apply for these limited funds. It would make the funds accessible to: (1) Community mental health centers and hospital psychiatric units if at least half of the clients are covered under Medicaid (2) Psychiatric physicians who provide consulting services to community health centers in areas with health professional shortages (3) Physicians serving in shortage areas for a minimum of five years.
My goal is that no longer will funds designated to address mental health needs go unused.

 

Education Funding

Rarely in my newsletters do I use partisan language to describe what is going on at the Capitol. Unfortunately when it comes to education funding I have little choice. The proposed increase in funding that House Republicans continue to put forward is a 1.25% increase in Supplemental State Aid. Spending additional dollars above the 1.25% proposed increase would require real reductions in other areas of the state budget like Health and Human Services or require an immediate tax increase. During debate in January on the funding bill, House Democrats suggested raising business taxes and using money originally targeted for debt reduction to increase spending on education; I disagree with this approach. We must give schools stable, predictable funding that they can rely on from year to year. In order to do that, the legislature must live within its means. The House proposal is nearly a $100 million increase in funding, more than half of all new revenue coming into the state. This is a serious commitment to education that also balances the needs of the taxpayers.
Again, Iowa does not have a revenue problem, it has a spending problem.

 

Waukee Warriors

Our Champion Waukee High School Women’s Basketball team deserved proper congratulations for their outstanding 5A State Championship victory. They came to the Iowa House of Representatives where the floor universally recognized their achievement and congratulated their efforts. I had the pleasure of meeting the Lady Warriors as well as the coaching staff, Principal and Superintendent of Schools who helped lead them to victory. I also had the honor of talking with some of the wonderful parents whose love and support through a rigorous practice schedule made this state title possible. The Waukee Warriors remind us that with character and hard work we can realize goals beyond what we thought possible. We made sure to include their dutiful bus driver in the team photo as well!

Great Job Team!

 

Thanks again for all of the emails I have been receiving from you. Without contact from you I would not be able to properly represent your concerns. Please never hesitate to contact me via email or call me on my cell phone. Thank you for the honor of representing you at the Iowa Capitol.

Happy Easter Season and with warm regards,

Representative Rob Taylor
House District 44
(515) 240-7019
Rob.taylor@legis.iowa.gov