House Democrats held a planning session for the 2008 legislative session on Monday at the State Capitol and said they will build on the progress made in 2007 for middle class families while balancing the state budget.

According to the non-partisan Legislative Services Agency, the State of Iowa’s savings accounts are full at $592 million, which is an increase of $366.8 million in the last four years and is the highest amount ever. Raided by Republicans in previous years, the Senior Living Trust Fund will also be repaid $182.8 million of the $300 million owed to help keep seniors in their homes.

“Unlike the federal government, the state budget is balanced and will remain balanced again next year. We followed Iowa’s expenditure limitation law, which limits our spending to 99 percent of our revenues. At the same time, we are helping middle class families by increasing teacher pay, ensuring health care is affordable and accessible, raising the state’s minimum wage, jumpstarting Iowa’s renewable energy efforts, and standing up to special interests. We will keep our commitments to Iowans and balance the state budget next year.” — House Speaker Pat Murphy[quicktime][/quicktime]