This past week House Joint Resolution 6, the Marriage Constitutional Amendment, passed out of the Iowa House on a 62-37 bi-partisan vote, and is now on the way to the Iowa Senate where the fate of the resolution is in limbo.

The House Education Committee last Tuesday voted to set the allowable growth for fiscal year 2012 at  zero percent, which means no boost in state money for Iowa school district budgets in the next two years, but a pledge has been made to fully fund that amount, something that didn’t happen last year. A zero percent allowable growth rate is necessary because the state went on a spending spree the last four years spending more than it took in through revenue. Unlike much of state government which is facing cuts, a zero percent allowable growth leaves districts with a status-quo budget. The Senate subcommittee approved a 2 percent allowable growth figure that has not been brought to the Senate Education Committee yet. The difference between the House and Senate proposals is 60 million dollars.

Tuesday House Republicans chose to give our kids $215 million  more than last year while at the same time providing $47 million in property tax relief for the districts affected by declining enrollment. House File 2 passed out of the Iowa House Wednesday. This bill states that no law shall impose a penalty, tax, fee, or fine of any type for declining or failing to contract for health care coverage or for declining or failing to participate in any particular health care system. This particular bill has drawn criticism from Iowa Attorney General Miller, who is a big supporter of the federal health care reform. The federal health care reform bill forces smaller insurers out of states, and forces a consolidation of health insurance offerings that will do one thing — raise our costs, and higher health care costs to employers does not equal job creation. It sets the stage for job cuts.

Always feel free to contact me on any issue before the Iowa Legislature. I can be reached at (515) 281-6055 during the week or by e-mail at steven.olson@legis.state.ia.us.

­Republican Steve Olson of DeWitt serves in the Iowa House of Representatives. He represents House District 83, which covers portions of Clinton and Scott counties.

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