Iowa General Assembly Spending Data for 2014

by Jennifer L. Crull

This is the seventh year in which Public Interest Institute has updated the citizens of Iowa about Iowa Vote Tally. Iowa Vote Tally is a modified version of the National Taxpayers Union Foundation’s Vote Tally. The purpose of Iowa Vote Tally is to let you know how Legislators voted to spend your tax dollars. Iowa Vote Tally looks at all appropriation bills that have fiscal impact tied to them. This includes funds from the General Fund. This does not include federal dollars or block grants. This year there were ten appropriation bills that the Iowa House and Senate voted on. These bills amounted to over $4.1 billion.

This information is being brought to you in an effort to increase the transparency concerning government spending. The Governor and Legislature have worked hard over the last several years to decrease the number of items funded through one-time funds. This helps create stability within our budgeting process and increases transparency.

The tables included in this publication show how your State Senator and State Representative voted concerning the spending of your taxpayer dollars. This session of the Iowa House and Senate had to deal with various issues, such as now paying for the property tax relief and educational reform that they voted for last year. Both of those pieces of legislation require more General Fund dollars being spent to support them. We have to hope that next year our elected officials will tackle the monumental task of fixing Iowa’s pension system. This is an issue that our elected officials can’t continue to put off.

State Auditor Mary Mosiman’s press release about the Iowa pension systems stated, “Iowa’s pension systems have seen their unfunded actuarial liability grow in the past several years.” Mosiman added:

Our State’s largest pension plan, IPERS, is only 80% funded according to the most current information available, versus 98% funded in 2000. The State’s other pension plans are funded at even lower levels. The State needs to address the sustainability of pensions to ensure commitments to public servants are honored while being fair to the taxpayers.[1]

If you visit the www.IowaTransparency.org Website you will see the link to Iowa Vote Tally. On the Iowa Vote Tally page, you are able to see individual reports for each Legislator. The individual reports show how the Legislators voted and the fiscal impact of each bill. If a Legislator is absent or votes “No,” the spending is recorded as zero; otherwise, the spending, or the cost of the bill, is assigned to the Legislator. The individual reports show the legislation that the Legislator voted on. It is also important to note that since this is an election year, there were several Legislators that missed votes on the appropriation bills. The legislation that the Legislators were absent for is left off the report. Take the time to check out your State Senator and State Representative and see if their voting habits are what you want in Des Moines.

Total Spending by Members of Iowa Senate - 2014

Total Spending by Members of Iowa House - 2014

Endnotes
[1] “State Auditor Mosiman Reviews Final Action Fiscal Year 2014 Budget,” Office of Auditor of State, August 5, 2013, <http://auditor.iowa.gov/press/Briefing_08-05-2013.pdf> accessed on June 9, 2014.

 

IOWA TRANSPARENCY NEWSLETTER is a monthly newsletter reporting on government transparency in our state.

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