The Democrats on the House Rebuild Iowa Committee are proposing a $100 million spending package that would address some issues related to the 2008 flooding in Iowa. But Representative Tom Schueller of Maqueketa says it will, more importantly, prepare the state for future floods.
"I believe that we…have a responsibility to provide for future emergencies by providing for programs and projects designed to be utilized immediately upon a disaster," Schueller says.
The package would set aside $20 million for flood prevention projects and $6 million for soil conservation and water retention efforts. It would address the plight of 2008 flood victims by setting aside $12.5 million of state funding for home buyouts.
Representative Todd Taylor, a Democrat from Cedar Rapids, will formally present the bill to the House Rebuild Iowa Committee this evening. "And we’ll be trying to again put into legislative action the lessons we’ve learned from committee work earlier the last seven weeks," Taylor says. "…This committee is a little bit different. It was created this year…obviously in response to the horrible disasters that we’ve had."
Republicans on the committee are unhappy they weren’t consulted or asked to contribute ideas for the package. House Republican Leader Kraig Paulsen of Hiawatha questioned the timing. "This seems to be more about the press release than it does about the bill, which is disappointing," Paulsen says. "But, you know, we’ll do our job."
Earlier this year the legislature passed a $56-million flood relief package which the governor signed into law. That money came from the state’s emergency reserves and Paulsen says it makes sense to dip into that account again for the $100 million outlined in the Democrats’ proposal since that account is for emergencies. Democrats say they’re unsure whether the money will come from that account or be part of the $750 million dollar borrowing package Governor Culver inends to unveil tomorrow.
Click on the audio link below to listen to the news conference held this morning by Democrats on the House Rebuild Iowa Committee.