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ITR: Rumor of education spending compromise a good sign

ClassroomBy Iowans for Tax Relief

 

On Wednesday last week it was reported that a compromise on education funding had possibly been reached.  However, while the rumored deal was being spoken about around the Capitol, neither House nor Senate leadership was willing to confirm that a compromise deal had been struck.

The rumored deal would increase K-12 education state aid by 1.25% next year as House Republicans have preferred, but would also provide $55 million in one-time funding for education so school districts would have some extra room in their budgets.  While the compromise still has not been confirmed, it is a good sign that leadership in both chambers is getting closer to an overall budget agreement that would complete this Legislative session.

Another positive sign that the session could adjourn soon is that Conference Committees have been assigned to several budget bills.  A Conference Committee is appointed when a bill passes through one chamber and then is amended and passed in the other chamber, but the original chamber is unwilling to approve the amendment and the other chamber is unwilling to withdraw its amendment.  A Conference Committee is then appointed with members of each party from each chamber to sort out the differences in the bill and recommend a compromise version that will be able to pass through both chambers.  This week the Agriculture and Natural Resources, Judicial Branch, Justice Systems, and Economic Development Appropriation bills were all assigned to Conference Committees.

One big disappointment as this session nears its end is that no significant tax relief or reform has been passed this session, and none appears likely to pass.   While this is disappointing to ITR and many Iowa taxpayers, we are appreciative of the many Legislators who have stood firm for a responsible budget that spends less than the state takes in.  If these dedicated Legislators had caved on this important principle, the session might have adjourned sooner, but Iowans would have been burdened with a even-more-expensive budget that would spend more of taxpayers’ dollars and possibly put the state in financial jeopardy.

Iowans for Tax Relief thanks the many Legislators who have resolved to approve only a fiscally responsible budget.  We encourage them to keep up their good work and stand firm as the session winds down.