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Friday, Dec. 19, 2014

Iowans deserve a budget that is transparent

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

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The Legislative session is only 25% over, and it would appear that the wheels are starting to fall off already.

Several bills, which passed the House last year have apparently once again failed to gain Senate approval. I was optimistic we could reach some consensus on energy legislation, but there are too many people who loathe utility companies and the generation of electricity if it comes from coal, natural gas or nuclear energy. No legislation is perfect and the bill being considered had some flaws, which could have been ironed out.

Iowa could be exporting electricity to other states, but as it stands now, there is a distinct possibility that we could someday experience brownouts and blackouts, because we will not have the base load capacity to keep up with demand.

Alternative forms of energy are fine; I support them and encourage conservation as well. We do, however, have to remember that electricity needs to be available, reliable and competitively priced. We like our electric appliances and gadgets, and we certainly love our motor vehicles.

I believe we forget sometimes just exactly what powers all of this stuff. Only recently on a national level, a proposed oil pipeline was stopped and a company interested in constructing an oil refinery in South Dakota has hit roadblock after roadblock. Now some in the Iowa Legislature have decided it is not important to update our generating capacity. I am no expert, but we can't have it both ways.

House Republicans released budget targets on Thursday and these are the numbers we will use to put together our budget. I have talked before about our guiding principles when it comes to budgeting, so briefly, I will restate them. Our budget process will be based on common sense.

We will not spend more than we take in and we will not use one-time money to finance ongoing projects. We will keep our commitments. These preliminary figures mean we will spend 97% of ongoing revenues and still fund priorities such as education, public safety and healthcare.

Iowans deserve a budget that is transparent and does away with misleading gimmicks. These numbers may move a little as we continue the process, but it is my belief any movement will be small. There is still a lot of uncertainty as to what Uncle Sam has planned in the way of budget cuts for states, so we will be cautious in our spending habits.

On Thursday afternoon, the House Transportation committee passed House File 2048, which prohibits the use of red light and speed cameras to issue tickets and fines. I voted in favor of the bill to move it to the House floor for debate.

You may reach me at the Capitol during the week by phoning me at 515-281-3221, or at home on weekends at 712-434-5880. You may write me at the State Capitol, Des Moines, Iowa 50319. My home address is P.O. Box 398, Aurelia, Iowa 51005. If you have email, please contact me at dan.huseman@legis.state.ia.us.