After debating a voter ID bill for more than five hours Monday, Rep. Bruce Hunter wasn’t about to ignore its $700,000 cost. Hunter, D-Des Moines, challenged the line item in the Secretary of State’s budget during a meeting Tuesday of the Administration and Regulation Appropriations Subcommittee. He challenged any committee member to explain why the money was needed to implement House File 516, which is awaiting final approval in the Senate. Hunter and fellow Democrats repeatedly asked majority Republicans what problem they were trying to solve. There have been few problems with voter fraud and impersonation, “but we give them $700,000 to chase Don Quixote,” Hunter said. “Given the cuts in other departments, it is unconscionable to put in $700,000 for a problem that doesn’t exist,” he said.
However, Sen. Jake Chapman, R-Adel, welcomed the funding “to ensure the integrity of our electoral process.” The $700,000 increase House and Senate Republicans recommended “is a small price to pay.”
And an overall budget recommendation of $47,393,637 for a variety of executive functions, including the Secretary of State, is nearly $1.4 million, or 2.86 percent, less than now.
Sen. Liz Mathis, D-Cedar Rapids, asked about a 25 percent cut to the Public Information Board budget this year. Interim Director Margaret Johnson said the board is getting by because she has not filled a vacancy, but sh expects the agency’s funds to be depleted in mid-May, about five weeks before the end of the fiscal year.
Full Article: Democrats question GOP’s spending on voter ID | The Gazette.