Legislature needs to do its job

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

The situation with the Iowa legislature not reaching an agreement between a senate version and house version of an education finance bill is disturbing, both in its practical impact and in its indication of a lack of respect in the rule of law by legislators.

The Republican - controlled Iowa House has proposed a 1.25 percent increase in the per-pupil supplemental state aid (formerly known as allowable growth)for the coming fiscal year that begins in July. The Democrat - controlled Iowa Senate is seeking a 4 percent increase in supplemental state aid.

A complete failure to reach an agreement would mean 0 percent supplemental state aid.

By state law, the legislature should have made the decision more than a year ago. The state deadline for school boards to approve a budget has passed. The school boards did not feel entitled to flout their legal obligations in the same way state legislators have.

By the end of this month on Thursday, any layoffs in personnel for budgetary reasons need to be announced to the affected employees.

The legislative inaction does not seem to be driven by deep philosophical reasons, simply by irresponsibility by state officials.