Budget now main focus of lawmakers
By State Sen. Tim Kraayenbrink
The final weeks of session are the time for state budgets for the next fiscal year to be developed, negotiated, and adopted. As chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee, this is when my committee gets very busy.
Preparation, deliberation, and execution of the state budget is a complicated and continual process. The annual budget process serves as the foundation for the state’s financial planning and control. The Revenue Estimating Conference meets quarterly to forecast the state’s revenue. With that estimate and knowledge of the ongoing financial commitments, we determine the overall budget target.
Once that overall target is set, it is divided into the budget subcommittees — Administration & Regulation, Agriculture and Natural Resources, Economic Development, Education, Health and Human Services, Justice System, and Transportation and Infrastructure. Those appropriation subcommittees then work to finalize their priorities and determine what will be funded.
Following negotiations with the House and the approval of the governor, the process is completed.
Senate Republicans remain committed to passing conservative, sustainable budgets, carefully providing funding to areas like mental health, public safety, and education, while ensuring the largest income tax cuts in Iowa history remain sustainable.
Senate File 2383, another proposal from Gov. Reynolds, addresses the workforce shortage. It addresses our workforce needs by eliminating regulations, reducing barriers to licensure, and promoting career opportunities. The bill amends current health care loan forgiveness and recruitment programs to cover more professionals, giving greater opportunity to those in rural areas and professions of need in the medical community. Another provision ensures that work-based learning is properly structured by school districts to provide exposure to high-paying careers outside of post-secondary education.
SF 2383 builds upon Iowa’s existing quality of life programs for our active-duty military members, veterans, and their spouses. It fast-tracks professional and occupational licenses for military spouses and veterans and eliminates entry hurdles by waiving the application and first renewal fees. This bill also eliminates costly hurdles and regulations for workers and housing projects by prohibiting a county or city from requiring an inspection of a manufactured home that was already inspected by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
This bill is another piece of the puzzle in solving the workforce shortage. It transitions Iowans from unemployment to reemployment by encouraging career success for students, supporting our health care professionals, and reducing both financial and regulatory barriers to entering the workforce.
Senate Republicans are making Iowa stronger as we continue to cut taxes and get Iowans back to work. We will continue to support our students, our veterans, and our workforce to improve the quality of life for all Iowans.
State Sen. Tim Kraayenbrink, R-Fort Dodge, represents Calhoun, Humboldt, and Pocahontas counties, plus most of Webster County.