Under the Golden Dome, Too

It’s hard to believe the 4th of July is right around the corner. Friends and family will soon be gathering to celebrate our nation’s birthday and reflect on the many blessings we enjoy as Americans. Thank you to all of our service men and women, past and present, for your sacrifice to preserve those things we cherish most- our independence, liberty, and freedom. I hope everyone enjoys the holiday and gets their fill of great BBQ, fireworks and parades!   

     Earlier this month, the Iowa Department of Revenue released a report showing the impact of the first year of the full implementation of the Taxpayers Trust Fund. You may recall that upon coming into the Majority in 2011, we set out to establish a fund intended to capture any overpayment of taxpayer dollars and send that money back to you, its rightful owners. We listened to you, and made sure we saved money for an emergency, paid off some debt, and made sure we didn’t use it to grow future obligations.

     In 2013, the fund was fully established when we set up a permanent mechanism that would go into effect anytime the state collects more than is needed to meet Iowans’ priorities, and return the over-collection to you. 

     According to the report, the results of the first year show that 1 million Iowa families, or 3 out of every 4 Iowa taxpayers, received money back through the Taxpayers Trust Fund. The report highlighted $78.1 million of over-collected taxpayer money was returned this year, totaling an average of $76 per Iowa taxpayer. 

     Admittedly, we realize this amount won’t make anyone rich, but it’s important to acknowledge that this figure represents $78.1 million that we are not building into the budget to spend on growing state government. It is also most certainly another sign that the mindset has changed when it comes to the state budget. Upon coming into the Majority almost four years ago, we established a set of core budgeting principles that we would not waiver on:

     • We will not spend more than we take in;

     • We will not use one-time revenue for ongoing expenses; and

     • We will not intentionally underfund promises made to Iowans.

     By sticking to these three commonsense budgeting principles, we were able to not only maintain our commitment to funding the priorities of Iowans, but also fulfill our final core budgeting principle which is to return the overpayment of tax dollars back to Iowa’s hardworking taxpayers. We understand the value of responsible budgeting and spending wisely, and because of these principles, we were able to provide some of your hard-earned paycheck back to you.

     As summer continues, I hope to see many of you out and about at upcoming parades and community events. For those who have been hit with storms, be prepared and be safe. Please do not hesitate to contact me anytime at linda.upmeyer@legis.iowa.gov or 515-281-4618 with any questions, comments, or concerns you may have.