Senator Guth: We must keep our fiscal house in order

The 2014 Legislative session is winding down, but there are several key issues to discuss before adjourning. One of those is voting on the individual budget bills. Several weeks ago, the House and Senate offered joint budget targets. The proposed Fiscal Year 2015 budget is an increase of 7.4 percent over the FY2014 budget, more than double the historic revenue growth of 3.6 percent. I find that kind of increase very troubling.

The Administration and Regulations subcommittee, where I am Senate ranking member, should have voted on our budget this week. The joint leadership had agreed to a status quo budget prior to our last meeting. In that final meeting, Democrats decided they wanted to spend some Iowa tax dollars on a Federal program to help low income families with home heating costs. Perhaps it makes some people feel good, but it certainly was not part of our budget thought process. This prompted the House members to declare this was not the agreed on in the budget and they adjourned. The Senate half of the committee then dropped that amendment since they knew it had no chance of passing in the House. Since that time, Democrats have offered various amendments that spend a little more here and a little more there. One such amendment would give $50,000 to the Public Information Board for furniture and printing costs. The Public Information Board consists of 2 attorneys and a secretary. Fifty thousand dollars seems a bit much for desks and computers for 3 people.  This kind of game-playing just prolongs the process.

As we work our way through a number of minor bills during the final weeks, it becomes very apparent that some legislators desire government oversight in more and more areas of our lives. I maintain in most cases the government that governs least governs best. The complicated bullying bill we passed out of the Senate over a week ago could have been easily replaced with the Golden Rule—“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Teaching it from the Book it comes from would go a long ways toward making our world more responsible and kind.

I am in complete agreement with Ronald Reagan when he said, “I hope we once again have reminded people that man is not free unless government is limited. There’s a clear cause and effect here that is as neat and predictable as a law of physics: As government expands, liberty contracts.” It’s great to visit with many of you this week and a privilege to serve District 4. Feel free to contact me at dennis.guth@legis.iowa.gov or call me at 641-430-0424. Be sure to catch me at these forums: Winnebago-Worth April 4 (times/places tba) and Estherville April 5 at Sleep Inn at 10 a.m.