This week at the Capitol there was a lot of buzz about a few different things. The first is the Governor's budget. Released last week, we are still analyzing it and trying to understand what it means for Iowans. So far, it looks like the 6.5% cut is just the tip of the iceberg.
The budget clearly outlines cutting $49.9 million in reimbursements from the Homestead Property Tax credit. The Iowa Department of Revenue wants $139.1 for Fiscal Year 2010. How will an $89.2 million dollar difference be made up? The answer is a property tax increase. The Governor also wants to eliminate seven funds among them, the Senior Living Trust Fund. The budget is always a contentious matter and over the past few years, government in Iowa has grown under Democratic control and we may find that 6.5% is not a big enough cut.
The Governor proposes cutting education at the non-public level, as well as $366,000 from the School for the Blind in Vinton. I know we have to cut every aspect of State Government, however further cuts in education strikes right at the heart of our future. Education is the future of Iowa and the Nation.
The other issue being examined at the Capitol this week is the possible repeal of Iowa's right-to-work law. The issue has been raised by Governor Culver, who appears ready to file an executive branch bill. According to reports, this bill will apply to all employees in a union shop both public and private. This latest effort is a bold attempt at forced unionization. If Democrats succeed in this effort they will be able to use dues from non-union members to pursue their legislative agenda. The result will be an increase in the already undue influence over elected officials wielded by union organizers.
The proposal for hunting and fishing license fee increases has been dropped. Continuing issues are the potential for a gas tax increase and just this morning the Register reports potential for a lottery lease again.
I welcome any comments you have on the issues. Thank you for your support and I look forward to hearing from you.
Sen. Tim Kapucian
Tama, Grundy, Iowa counties