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Budget cuts would cost jobs


The “deappropriation” bill that has been launched in the Iowa Legislature largely takes aim at spending for education, natural resources and some areas of health and human services. However, the business community would be affected, too.

HF 45 would reduce the appropriation for the Iowa Resource Enhancement and Protection Fund by $3 million; cut the appropriation to the state universities by a total of $10 million; and eliminate funding for tobacco use prevention by $2.4 million, to cite three provisions.

Nearly every reduction in state spending affects business in some way, of course. There’s a company providing a product or service for just about any government action you can name.

But some provisions would have a much more direct impact. Bill backers still want to dump the Power Fund and the Office of Energy Independence, and they want to eliminate $30 million that was appropriated from the I-JOBS program as grants to cities and counties for disaster prevention infrastructure.

It’s not money for “heated sidewalks”; it’s money lined up for a levee in Cedar Rapids, water control in Fort Madison and flood mitigation in Coralville, among other projects. These projects would seem to suit Gov. Terry Branstad’s plan to create 200,000 jobs in Iowa, but of course they don’t suit the philosophy of making government smaller.

Branstad and the Republicans want to create those jobs by improving the business climate, not by spending tax money, and it’s certainly legitimate to test the theory with this approach.

It will dampen the “spark” effect of government spending, though. Iowa wouldn’t be the home of a growing alternative energy industry if the movement had been strictly left up to citizens working on projects in their garages.

House Majority Leader Linda Upmeyer has said business will get plenty of good news from this year’s session. But getting rid of infrastructure projects is not good news, at least not in the short term.

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