Week 4: Announcement, bad bills, next public forum
COMMUNITY COLLEGE CUTS HURT JOB CREATION, REDUCE OPPORTUNITIES
Senate File 2117 calls for immediately cutting $5.4 million from Iowa's community colleges, when the budget year is more than half over.
What’s the reason businesses aren’t moving to Iowa or expanding in our communities? We don’t have enough skilled workers to do the jobs they need to fill.
Forcing community colleges to drop classes, cut programs, increase tuition and lay off staff will make creating better-paying jobs and boosting economic growth even more difficult.
DMACC is involved in so much that is going right in our economy. The college, the teachers and especially the students generate and attract economic activity in communities, large and small. We must support them and invest in them, not cut their resources.
Under the Senate proposal, DMACC will have to cut $910,527 from their budget in the next few months. That works out to $227,632 per month from March through the end of the fiscal year on June 30. It’s estimated that tuition would have to go up 5 to 10 percent make up the difference.
These cuts put people’s lives and careers—our whole economy—on hold. For example:
The DMACC diesel program had 58 students ready to start training for an in-demand field that maintains diesel engines, fixes tractors for farmers and repairs turbines for power plants. Now they can only train 28 students.
DMACC will have to stop work on a joint Cyber Security program with Iowa State.
The planned expansion of the Court Reporting program at DMACC will be scrapped.
If community colleges matter to you—good course offerings, affordable tuition, great educators and the boost they bring to incomes and our economy—contact Republican state legislators and encourage them to put community colleges at the top of their priority list.
UNIVERSITY CUTS ARE BAD FOR ECONOMY, STUDENTS’ POCKETBOOKS
Iowans pride themselves on our state’s high-quality education, from preschool through college.
“That’s why SF 2117, a Senate Republican proposal that cuts about $52 million, is so worrisome.”
I do not support this funding cut, which was approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee on a party-line vote of 13-8.
This cut includes $19.3 million from our three state universities ($8.7 million from the UI, $6.9 million from ISU and $3.7 million from UNI). Funding for the universities makes up only about 7 percent of the state budget, but they are facing a whopping 38.6 percent of all mid-year budget cuts proposed in SF 2117.
This is on top of the nearly $30 million in cuts they’ve already been hit with in recent months. SF 2117 would bring cuts to Iowa’s state universities up to nearly $50 million in just the last year, a reduction of almost 10 percent. That would make 2018 funding for our state universities less than it was 20 years ago.
Our state universities serve as engines for growth by educating our workforce, advancing research and development, and providing businesses with services that help them grow and be innovative.
For example, the Legislature provided $8.7 million in funding for economic development, technology transfer and commercialization of research at our state universities in the current fiscal year. This type of investment is key to keeping Iowa on the cutting edge.
Today, 66 percent of firms with employees are owned by Baby Boomers. With their retirement, it’s estimated that 75 percent of small companies will be for sale in the next five to 10 years. We count on Iowa, Iowa State and UNI to foster our next generation of entrepreneurs.
After years of budget shortfalls, we are already past the point where we can keep slashing without causing real harm to Iowans, our state and our future prosperity. Cuts will have real consequences.
MID-YEAR CUTS WILL CRIPPLE IOWA COURTS
We can’t be tough on crime or smart on crime if we don’t ensure justice is served. Failure to properly manage the state budget has us in exactly that position, as we face mid-year cuts of $4.8 million to our Courts.
Republican proposed cuts in Senate File 2117 are sure to hurt all Iowans. Cuts will force court house closures and staff layoffs and furloughs. Trials will be postponed and justice delayed. In counties that lose their court houses, citizens—including crime victims—will have to travel to another county designated to handle their court business.
Judicial Branch services are just one way Iowans will feel the impact. SF 2117 proposes numerous other Justice System budget cuts, including cuts to the Department of Corrections and the Department of Public Safety, which could make our prisons and streets more dangerous.
PUTTING IOWANS FIRST
Iowans work hard, but many still struggle to get by. Stagnant wages, rising health care costs, and fewer dollars going to job training and public education are hurting Iowa families.
It’s time to get back to the basics—to help improve Iowans’ everyday lives and give each of us opportunities to get ahead. Iowa values include investing in our most valuable resource—our people. It’s a mistake to believe that the state can cut its way to prosperity.
That’s why we’re Putting Iowans First and focusing on our shared Iowa values for:
Revitalized small towns & rural areas
The best education in the country
A quality of life that is second to none
The best ideas for Iowa come from you. Please take this short survey, and share your thoughts on what we can do to Put Iowans First.
Working together, we can ensure Iowa’s best days are ahead.
NEWS YOU CAN USE
Take part in the Iowa caucuses – Feb. 5
Iowa's Democratic and Republican 2018 precinct caucuses will be February 5. For those who are new to caucusing, Iowans gather with others from their neighborhood to organize for the elections ahead, elect representatives to their county committee and share ideas.
The Democratic and Republican parties hold separate caucus events on the same day, at the same time. You can only participate in one or the other, not both. You must be registered with the party to participate in their caucus. You can, however, register to vote or change your registration at your precinct caucus.
If you plan to caucus as a Democrat, find your location and additional information at www.iowademocrats.org/caucus. If you will be caucusing as a Republican, get location and details at www.iowagop.org/caucus.
What local jobs are available?
New interactive maps released by Iowa Workforce Development show demand for different jobs in our area. This information can help you see what local work might be available to you or even help you plan your career training. The maps also will be valuable to communities looking for solutions to their skilled labor needs.
You can see change in demand for jobs from 2010 to 2018, as well as estimated jobs openings for 2018. The maps include jobs that require some training beyond a high school diploma and have a median hourly wage of at least $15 per hour. Learn more on the IWD website.
Where can I eat?
A new mobile app from the Department of Inspections & Appeals – IA Food Inspections – can help you find restaurants by business name, city or zip code. The app for smart phones (through Google Play and the iTunes App Store) allows you to pinpoint restaurants and food establishments on the map, along with their address and phone number.
In addition, the app shows you if the establishment had violations during its last inspection so that you can make an informed decision about safe eating. More information about Iowa food safety is available at the DIA website.
What’s happening with Iowa tax returns this year?
The Iowa Department of Revenue has a new webpage, 2017 Filing Made Easy, designed to answer the most common questions Iowans ask about the their income taxes, including:
Once I file my return, what happens?
When will I get my refund?
What can I do to receive my refund sooner?
The page explains the filing process in simple steps, along with tips and tricks to avoid pitfalls and get what you’re owed as quickly as possible. Check it out on the DOR website.
It was an honor to stand with and speak up for Iowa’s Dreamers during Iowa Latino Day at the Statehouse.
A group of young people who are interested in making a positive difference in our state gathered at the Statehouse January 31. Iowa’s Young Democrats and College Democrats joined legislators for a photo. They are eager to do their part to improve our communities and our state.