Press Release | Branstad/Reynolds Budget Poses An Urgent Danger to Iowa's at-Risk Children <--Click Here
UPCOMING EVENT WITH POLK COUNTY SUPERVISOR, ANGEL CONNOLLY
Sunday, April 23rd, 2017
Westside Community Center
MORE CUTS WILL HURT IOWANS & ECONOMY
It’s no mystery why Iowa’s state budget is such a mess.
As you know, the Branstad-Reynolds Administration last week called for another $173 million in cuts to the budget we had set for next year. Legislative Republicans are expected to propose even more severe cuts in the next few days. This comes on the heels of major, mid-year Republican budget cuts earlier this session.
All of this could have been avoided if Governor Branstad, Lt. Governor Reynolds and legislative Republicans had delivered on their promises to increase family incomes by 25 percent and create more than 200,000 new jobs. Their approach to achieve that goal—starving schools, short-changing job creation initiatives and giving huge tax breaks to big, out-of-state corporations—has left the state budget in the red.
Republicans are planning to make more cuts that will weaken Iowa’s economy and slash essential services. What will be the impact on students, workers, families, seniors and other Iowans?
More lean years for K-12 students - The long-term impact of underfunding public schools is likely to continue, forcing more consolidation of school districts in small towns and rural areas.
Fewer college and job-training options – We’re facing more big cuts to job training at our community colleges, fewer educational opportunities at our public universities, higher tuition and more student debt.
Cutting help for vulnerable Iowans - The safety net for our most vulnerable citizens is already in trouble. Problems at the Department of Human Services and an ill-conceived scheme to privatize Iowa Medicaid have hurt Iowans, while taking more hard-earned taxpayer dollars. Additional cuts could devastate health care, mental health and other critical services for thousands of Iowans who have no other options.
Jeopardizing public safety – Cuts mean fewer corrections, probation and parole officers, less help for victims of domestic violence and violent crimes, reduced programs for offenders trying to successfully re-enter society and more dangerous prisons.
Delaying justice - Cuts to our courts have already forced them to scale back their hours. Hearings and trials will continue to be delayed, and victims will not get justice in a timely fashion.
We must chart a new course that will give our state a stronger economy and a brighter future.
IOWA WILL SUFFER WITH CUTS TO COLLEGE & JOB TRAINING
I will not support unnecessary cuts that threaten the quality of higher education and job training.
Cutting the very investments that create a high-skill, high-wage economy is the worst thing we could do when the #1 problem facing Iowa businesses is a critical shortage of skilled and qualified workers.
Programs at our community colleges educate and train Iowans for local job openings, provide adult basic education, and partner with K-12 schools in work-based learning for students.
The newest budget from the Branstad-Reynolds Administration includes more than $10 million in cuts to workforce training. That represents a 50 percent reduction, which is likely to prevent more than 5,000 Iowans from earning a credential or achieving literacy.
Worker training programs are not the only thing on the chopping block. The Branstad-Reynolds Administration has proposed cutting $6 million in basic state aid to community colleges. Their mid-year reduction for community colleges was $4.75 million. They now want to cut another $1.3 million for next year, which will undoubtedly increase tuition and student debt.
This is unfortunate because 90 percent of community college graduates stay in Iowa to live, work, raise a family—and grow our economy.
Iowa’s public universities face $14.1 million in cuts next year, which erases three years’ worth of funding increases for the University of Iowa and Iowa State. Tuition increases could be devastating at a time when student aid is declining. It means students must take on more debt to earn a degree—or be forced out of a college entirely.
We know that 68 percent of all Iowa jobs will require education and training beyond high school by 2025. Cutting already inadequate job training and education funding is not the way to strengthen our economy and Iowa’s working families.
PROTECTING THE PROPERTY RIGHTS OF IOWANS
In response to news stories and citizen complaints, the Iowa Senate unanimously approved changes to Iowa’s asset forfeiture law, which allows law enforcement to seize property—especially money and cars—if they can prove the assets were related to a crime.
Currently, law enforcement must prove that a “preponderance of the evidence” shows the property is related to a crime. This is a low standard. At times, property has been seized from citizens, but no criminal charges are ever filed. In fact, the law does not require that criminal charges against the property owner be filed for law enforcement to keep their property.
Those who have their property taken must go to court to regain it, often spending money on court costs and an attorney. Senate File 446 would change that.
Under the bill, if the value of the seized property is less than $5,000, it is not subject to forfeiture unless criminal charges are filed against the property owner. In addition, the bill requires that law enforcement prove by “clear and convincing evidence”—a higher standard—that the property was obtained from a crime or used in crime.
The bill also requires law enforcement to establish policies for property that is seized, including keeping track of the value of the property, who seized the property and what ultimately happens to it. The records will be public information.
This bill is now under consideration in the Iowa House. Contact your State Representative and encourage the Iowa House to bring this bill up for a vote. Find their contact information at www.legis.iowa.gov/legislators/find. Then e-mail them, or call and a leave a message at the House switchboard (515-281-3221).
This is a legislative update from State Senator Matt McCoy, representing the west part of Des Moines, portions of West Des Moines and northwest Warren County.
For bio, photos and further information, go to www.senate.iowa.gov/senator/mccoy. Follow Senator McCoy on Facebook at www.facebook.com/senatormccoy.
To contact Senator McCoy when the Legislature is in session, call the Senate Switchboard at 515-281-3371. Otherwise he can be reached at 515-274-0561. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Senator McCoy is an Assistant Leader, as well as ranking member on the Transportation & Infrastructure Budget and the Government Oversight Committee. He also serves on the Appropriations, Commerce, Local Government and Ways & Means committees.