The twenty-first week of the 2011 Legislature has come to a close without the full Senate meeting. There is still work to be done before we can bring the session to a close.
Recently Senator Gronstal met with the other 25 Senate Democrats behind closed doors, they came back to House leaders and Governor Branstad and made it clear they were not interested in continuing the bi-partisan discussions.
For weeks, Governor Branstad, House Republicans and Senate Republicans have been in agreement that the state will not spend more than $5.99 billion dollars.
We have made it crystal clear that we stand for responsible and sustainable budgets that do not include the reckless budgeting gimmicks that have imperiled the state's budget during the last few years.
If an observer of the 2010 election walked away with only one message it should have been "stop the unsustainable spending." I campaigned on, as many Republicans did, reducing the size and cost of government, and I won my election by over 5,100! The message from Iowans remains clear.
On the flip side, Senate Democrats have demanded that the state continue to spend more money. In fact, their spending demands would actually continue to have the state spend more money than it takes in.
Their budgets would continue to rely heavily on one-time dollars to pay for ongoing expenses and would be a continuation of the Culver budgeting practices that led us to deep across-the-board cuts and four years of fiscal volatility.
If Senate Democrats are successful in shutting down state government, that outcome will have serious consequences for the timely funding for our schools and other government entities like our state troopers, prison guards, health and food inspectors and child protection services among many, many others.
Now is the time to join together, work out our differences and move the state forward in a bi-partisan fashion. I believe that is what Iowans expect from their elected leaders.
This past weekend I walked the Cherokee Rodeo Parade. I look forward all last week to seeing some friends along the route and to enjoy a beautiful summer day in Cherokee. Angie, Joe and Eva joined me as well.
I want to thank you again for giving me the opportunity to serve you in the Iowa Senate. Please feel free to contact me with questions, comments and ideas.