The Bottom Line

by Mike Breitbach, District 28 State Senator

The Legislative session has begun for 2015. Many of you know my heart remains in northeast Iowa, but in order to serve you, I need to be in Des Moines. We have some new faces in the Iowa Senate and it will be interesting to see how we interact with each other. Renewing friendships on both sides of the aisle gives me hope that we can reach agreement on many of the issues we need to address this session.
Improving and maintaining our infrastructure continues to be one of my top priorities. We have 30 counties that have bonded for maintaining their roads and bridges. This is not how our road fund is supposed to work. Hopefully, we can address this issue early and clear it off our calendars.
The Governor’s message was received on Tuesday. While our state is in good shape financially we are starting to backslide. His proposed budget estimates our ending balance at the end of the 2015 fiscal year at $250 million. This is $650 million less than 2013 fiscal year ending balance. We need to make sure we work hard to reach agreement on a budget that serves Iowans’ needs, provides quality education and does not spend more than we take in.
I feel our rural school districts are being short changed as our transportation costs historically have run higher than non-rural school districts. I have encouraged members of the education committee to look at a way in which a base transportation cost is set and if a school district’s costs are in excess of that, they are allowed additional funding. This would ensure our students are receiving the same level of funding for their classroom education as other districts.
Remember, I am here to serve you. Please feel free to share your opinions with me Have friends and family sign up for my newsletter.
Upcoming Forums:
February 21: 9 a.m. - Oelwein Farm Bureau - Oelwein Luigi’s; 11:15 a.m. - Decorah City Hall
March 21: 9 a.m. Oelwein Farm Bureau - Oelwein Luigi’s; 11:15 a.m. Allamakee Farm Bureau.