Iowa Gov. Terry E. Branstad today reflected on the 2016 legislative session by issuing the following statement:
“The future of our state is bright. This year, we worked with the Iowa Legislature to build consensus and come together for Iowans on taxpayers’ priorities. Over the next thirty days, Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds and I will carefully review the bills passed during the final days of the legislative session to ensure the budget balances, continues to fit within our five-year budgeting projections, and honors the commitments we’ve made in the past to the Teacher Leadership system and property tax relief. We will adhere to the conservative budgeting principles that Iowans elected us to implement, and will continue to reject bad budgeting practices that led to reckless across the board cuts.
Just before my Condition of the State address in January, Lt. Gov. Reynolds and I stood up with U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and education and agriculture leaders from around the state and offered a bold plan to dedicate long-term funding for both water quality and education infrastructure in our state without raising taxes. From the beginning, we offered this plan as a framework and welcomed ideas that others may have in addressing water quality.
The Iowa House of Representatives responded by approving bipartisan legislation, providing a distribution system similar to the one we recommended, while allocating more than $732 million over the next 13 years to water quality projects. We worked closely with legislators on this proposal and supported the progress and approach that was taken. However, we’re very disappointed that Senate Democrat leadership decided to bury the House bill with no debate and offering no alternative. Water quality is a critical issue and we will continue to work to build support for a long-term funding solution to address water quality efforts in Iowa.”