Posted: March 14, 2014

As I mentioned last week, House Republicans and Senate Democrats reached agreement on an overall general fund budget plan. Next year’s general fund budget will spend $6.9718 billion.

That represents 99.84% of on-going state revenue, staying true to the House GOP’s common sense principle of spending less than the state collects. This number also represents just 91.14% of the allowed amount under the state’s expenditure limitation law.

As a reminder this will be the fourth consecutive year the state will spend less than it collects. This is in stark contrast to the four years immediately preceding House Republican leadership in the Iowa House. From 2007 through 2010, Democrats spent more than the state collected in each of those years.

The agreement complies with House Republicans four budgeting principles:
We will spend less than the state collects;
We will not use one-time money to fund on-going needs;
We will not balance the budget by intentionally underfunding programs; and
We will return unused tax dollars to Iowa’s taxpayers.

As part of the effort to not underfund our previously made obligations, House Republicans’ plan follows through on our commitments to offer $414 million in tax relief to Iowans.

This plan fully-funds the property tax credits including the homestead, elderly and disabled, military and agland tax credits. It also fully-funds the commercial property tax credit which was passed last year as part of the largest tax cut in Iowa history. We also continue to send money to the Taxpayer Trust Fund which is a direct payment back to Iowa taxpayers on their income tax returns.

House Republicans will continue to work to find ways to take less money from Iowa taxpayers and return more to their pockets all while following through on the budget promises we’ve already made.

Last week Best Buddies Iowa and Special Olympics Iowa joined together at the State Capitol for “Spread the Word to End the Word” Day. These young Iowans encouraged legislators, staff and visitors to sign their pledge to stop using the R-word in everyday language as it is hurtful, exclusive and derogatory. I was happy to once again sign their pledge and meet with the students in my office.

Charity, Angela and Tyler are pictured here with me in my office with their signed pledge. Best Buddies Iowa and Special Olympics Iowa are examples of organizations in our state that do a great job of serving our young people.

As always, if you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to call my office at (515) 281-3521 or email me at

Posted: February 28, 2014

This week in the House spent our time debating bills that had previously survived the legislative funnel. Most of the bills we considered passed the House in a bipartisan manner and were sent over to the Senate for their consideration.

One significant bill passed this week was House File 2253 which toughens penalties for those convicted of crimes against children, specifically kidnapping. This bill was generated after last summer’s kidnapping of Kathlynn Shepard and Desi Hughes which resulted in the murder of Shepard, who was 15.

The bill makes the crime of kidnapping a child 15 or under a class B felony and lengthens prison time for those who are convicted of this crime. In the Shepard case, the murderer was a convicted child kidnapper who was freed due to good behavior. Had this bill been in effect at the time of this incident, the kidnapper would have remained in prison and not been free to commit these heinous crimes.

I believe keeping Iowa’s children safe from harm is one of the most fundamental things we do at the capitol. While I am deeply saddened by the loss of Kathlynn Shepard and the trauma suffered by Desi Hughes, I am hopeful this measure will prevent this horrific situation from ever happening again.

The bill passed the House 94 votes to 3 votes.

Another bill we took up was House File 2275 which will prevent fraud, misrepresentation and inadequate documentation in the Medicaid process. This bill sets the stage to save Iowa taxpayers upwards of $16 million by preventing this fraud. It will also increase efficiency by reducing approval time from weeks to 48 hours or less.

This bill passed the House 86 votes to 12 votes.

Both of these bills now head to the Senate where I hope they will get a fair hearing.

As we continue to move through the session, we will continue to work on bills that are a priority for Iowans and will move the state forward.

You can watch an update I deliver to the press this week here

As always, feel free to contact me on these bills or any others at my office at (515) 281-3521 or by email at

Posted: January 28, 2014

This week Iowans across the state gathered together with their neighbors to participate in the first-in-the-nation caucuses. Iowans take great pride in the caucuses and are the best qualified to vet presidential candidates, but also set party policies and weigh in on state candidates.

I had the privilege of speaking at the Linn County caucuses. It was an organizational success and the enthusiasm shown by Republicans in an off-year caucus was remarkable.

As we returned to work, the budget process got underway in the House. The governor presented his budget last week and unlike his predecessor, Governor Branstad has again provided the Legislature with his budget proposal on the second day of the legislative session.

The Governor’s budget proposal is a good first step in the appropriations process, and House Republicans are once again committed to conducting a line-by-line review to ensure that taxpayers’ dollars are wisely spent.

As we continue our review and discussion of the budget, we will continue to make sure each proposal meets House Republicans’ budgeting principles of:
• Not spending more money than the state takes in,
• Not using one-time money to pay for on-going expenses,
• Not intentionally underfunding entitlement programs to balance the state’s budget,
• And returning unused tax dollars to Iowa’s taxpayers;

Our state will continue to be prepared for whatever lies ahead.

As we have seen in the past, it only takes one undisciplined budget to destroy the progress that has been made. We must not retreat from our principles.

Please join Sen. Mathis and I this weekend for our forums – 9am at the Hiawatha Public Library and 10:30am at the Marion City Hall chambers. I look forward to talking with you in person and getting your input on this session.

As always, please let me know if you have any questions or concerns by contacting my office at (515) 282-3521 or at

Posted: May 3, 2013

As we near the end of the 2013 session, we continue to work through the various budget areas, working on behalf of the hardworking taxpayers of Iowa to ensure the budget principles I have previously outlined are used to get the state’s fiscal house in order. As a reminder:

• Republican budgets do not spend more money than the state takes in;
• Republican budgets do not use one-time money to pay for on-going expenses;
• Republican budgets do not intentionally underfund entitlement programs to balance the state’s budget;
• Republican budgets will return unused tax dollars to Iowa’s taxpayers.

I want to take a moment to thank all of the high school pages, particularly the Speaker’s page, who worked in the House this year. Every year when legislators descend upon the Capitol and go to work on behalf of Iowans, they are joined by some of Iowa’s brightest and most talented high school students. These students spend the session (or half session) as Legislative pages – serving in the House, Senate and Legislative Services Agency.

As the Speaker of the House, I have an office page that assists me and my staff. His primary responsibility is running the soundboard in the chamber. I’ve asked him to share his perspective on being a page with you below.

Hello, my name is Keith Paulsen, and I am a homeschooled Senior from Hiawatha, Iowa. I am the son of the Speaker of the Iowa House of Representatives, Kraig Paulsen, and I am serving as his page during this legislative session.

Originally, I first heard about the page program eleven years ago when my father was a newly-elected representative and I saw the pages busying about on the House floor. I have wanted to be a page at the Capitol since that day. I’ve visited the Iowa State Capitol multiple times during sessions since then, however I hadn’t given being a page much serious thought until my dad brought it up to me last summer. When he did I knew that I wanted to do it.

Because I am the Speaker’s Page I have a plentiful amount of responsibilities, these are a few of them. I am in charge of transporting the gavel and striking block to and from the Speaker’s office and rostrum on the House floor. While on the floor, I run the microphones and timer during debate. In addition to these things I also do office errands, answer the phone, greet people that come into the office, run documents to other offices, process mail, keep the fridge and copier fully stocked of supplies and any other odd job that is found fit for me to do.

The most enjoyable part of my job is getting the opportunity to meet and talk with a large variety of different people here at the Capitol. Some of these people are representatives who come from different parts of the state, with different backgrounds and ideas about the state and how to make it better. I also get to meet the people that come into the Speaker’s office to talk to him. This brings a wide variety of people that ranges from constituents from his district, visitors from around the state, organizations, lobbyists and more that come to talk about issues of concern. There are many other people that I get talk to, some that work at the Capitol and others that are visiting.

Working at the Capitol as the Speaker’s page has been an exceptional experience for me. I have been able to listen and learn about the legislative process and see it happening firsthand, and all of the work and time that goes into it. I have seen the politics of decision making and what happens because of those decisions. I have talked with people from around the state and hear the interests of Iowans. The greatest of all my experiences though has been the opportunity to work for my dad, the Speaker, and spend time learning from him.

I would recommend the page program to anyone and encourage them to do it, especially those that are interested in politics, it is a great opportunity.

Keith is more than just my page, he’s my son and it’s been a tremendous experience having him serve as my page this session. I am very proud of the work he – and all the pages – have done this year. If you know someone who might be interested in serving as a page during the next session, you can find more information here or contact me if you have questions (515) 281-3521 or

Posted: April 29, 2013

We had another successful week in the House. Several more budget bills moved through the process and were sent to bipartisan conference committees where they will hopefully find resolution quickly.

As the budgets have been moving through the House and Senate, it has become clear that Democrats have already begun to surpass their own budget targets.

In February, House Republicans and Senate Democrats each released their budget targets. At that time, Senate Democrats proposed spending $6.9 billion in Fiscal Year 2014 ($487 million more than House Republicans) resulting in an 11 percent increase in state General Fund spending over last year’s level. The Senate proposal spends over $1.05 for every dollar of state revenue.

By contrast, the House Republican budget spends 98 cents for every dollar of state revenue. The Fiscal Year 2014 proposal by House Republicans spends $6.4139 billion. This is a 3 percent increase over last year’s spending level and it protects priority services in the areas of education, health and human services and public safety.

Over the last 20 years, state revenue has averaged 3.4 percent growth.

As budgets have been working through the legislative process over the past few weeks, it has become clear that Senate Democrats have already surpassed their own unsustainable budget targets. The budgets that passed the Senate have spent nearly $47 million more than what their initial targets laid out. These changes have raised the amount of the Senate’s budget to an 11.6% increase in state General Fund spending over last year’s level, and they still have not acted on the Standings bill.

The House Republicans’ budgets outline principles used to get the state’s fiscal house in order:
• Republican budgets do not spend more money than the state takes in;
• Republican budgets do not use one-time money to pay for on-going expenses;
• Republican budgets do not intentionally underfund entitlement programs to balance the state’s budget;
• Republican budgets will return unused tax dollars to Iowa’s taxpayers.

As always, feel free to contact me if you have any questions or concerns. My office phone is (515)281-3521 or email is

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