0525807rep-hunter-2007reduced1The Iowa House of Representatives today approved the first of seven budget bills that contained cost saving ideas from Iowans and reduced state spending by 12% while protecting critical services for abused and neglected children.

“The budget we approved today is fiscally responsible and will help keep the state budget in balance,” said State Representative Bruce Hunter of Des Moines, who chairs the Administration & Regulation Budget Subcommittee. “Earlier this session, we asked Iowans to offer their budget saving ideas and we are putting some of those ideas into action by cutting back on travel, reducing state vehicle expenses, and using energy conservation practices to reduce utility costs.”

House File 809, the Administration & Regulation Budget, reduces state spending by 12%, or $11.5 million, from last year. The bill funds 13 different departments and state agencies including the State Auditor, Commerce, Management, and Revenue.

Some of the ideas submitted from Iowans at www.iowahouse.org/openbudget that were included in the legislation are:
• Suggestion: “Travel budgets, meal allowances and paid meals for state employees need to be reviewed.” — “Cut back on unnecessary out of State travel.”
• Bill Action: state employees must submit actual receipts for meals and other costs; no out of state travel for state employees unless authorized by the Executive Council, which is comprised of all statewide elected officials

• Suggestion: “Cut down the use of state vehicles”
• Bill Action: must cut state vehicle fleet costs by 7.5%; the Dept. of Administrative Services (DAS) can’t purchase upgrades like GPS, leather seats, or CD players for state vehicles

• Suggestion: “Identify and eliminate wasteful agency spending.”
• Bill Action: $3.6 million cut from Dept. of Revenue; $328,223 cut from state auditor, $857,078 cut from Governor’s Office; $115,441 cut from state treasurer; $284,328 cut from Secretary of State

• Suggestion: “Save a lot on electric if every computer and monitor in the state offices were shut off when not in use.”
• Bill Action: Reduce utility costs by 10% through energy conservation practices