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After nine weeks and the second funnel now behind us, I wanted to take the time to update you on the budget happenings within the Iowa Legislature. First and foremost, I am working to stay mindful of issues impacting Iowa families and pushing for legislation that strengthens our economy, fosters job creation and providing Iowans a world class education.

In addition to these priorities, we must remain concerned with holding spending. We must understand it is not practical to grow government nearly twice the rate of Iowans’ household incomes.

House and Senate Leadership have proposed a joint budget target of $6.972 billion, which is nearly $3 million below ongoing revenues. While I believe the budget targets will remain close to those proposed by the two chambers at the end of this session, I will continue to push for a budget that spends less than we take in on an ongoing basis and keeps in mind the funding that is most important to Iowans.

The proposed Fiscal Year 2015 budget is an increase of 7.4 percent. This is troubling for me because this increase far exceeds the growth in household incomes. In order to keep a sustainable budget, I think it would be best if we were to stick closer to the rate of growth within our Iowan households.

 

Family Time

We finally put our words into action. Last weekend, we took our two oldest
children to Snowstar and taught them to ski. Noelle caught on really fast. Herbiggest fear was not flying down the largest hill but it was getting off the
ski lift. I am proud to say, she conquered it by the end of the night. Kyle is
beyond proud of his abilities but is definitely still a rookie. We wanted them
to build confidence so we did not push them. While Kyle never attempted a big hill or the ski lift, he is beyond proud of himself and is determined to get
back there one more time before all the snow melts. Love these family moments.

Iowa Capitol Picture of the Week: Grand Staircase

Each and every day on my way to work, I am lucky enough to ascend these stairs on the East side of the Capitol en route to the Senate Chamber. Among the most unique and beautiful features of the Grand Staircase are the two figurines located at the base, attached to the top of the newel posts. The figurines were originally commissioned for the Illinois Statehouse, but later donated to the state of Iowa. The gas lanterns contained on the figurines were subsequently converted to electric and have been on display ever since being placed in the Capitol. I have included pictures of both the staircase and figurines.

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