Fiscal responsibility and balancing the state budget were the top priorities of the Legislative Council that met today at the State Capitol in Des Moines.

“Just as families are forced to tighten their belts, state government and the Legislature are no different. We will do our part by cutting over 10% from the Legislature’s budget next year,” said House Speaker Pat Murphy of Dubuque, who noted that savings include a pay freeze for all legislative employees, reducing travel budgets, and cutting back next year’s legislative session by 10 days.

“We know we are faced with another difficult budget next year so we’ve approved a State Government Reorganization Commission to improve efficiency, eliminate duplication, reduce costs and modernize how government works,” said House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy of Des Moines. “We look forward to working with Governor Culver and the executive branch to find ideas that will not only save money for taxpayers, but also improve service to Iowans.”

“Last session, we approved a fiscally responsible, balanced state budget that met the priorities of Iowans in health care, jobs and education. Our efforts to reduce costs, find efficiencies, and continue to provide support for middle class families will continue over the interim and I look forward to seeing recommendations for the 2010 legislative session,” said Senate Majority Leader Gronstal of Council Bluffs.

In addition to the State Government Reorganization Commission, the Legislative Council approved interim study committees on the following topics: Criminal Code Reorganization, Health Care Coverage, Job Training, School Finance Formula, Government Oversight, Care of Animals in Commercial Enterprises, and Prescription Medication Usage.

The 2010 Legislative Session begins on Monday, January 11.