Name: Gary Carlson
Office running for: State Representative, House District 91
Current Position: State Representative, House District 91 and also work for HNI Corporation
What are the biggest issues you feel should be addressed?
Balance the state’s priorities within the guidelines of a balanced budget and sound fiscal responsibility.
- K-12 education is a significant priority and represents more than 45% of the state’s budget, so its magnitude on the entire state budget must be established early in the Legislative session
- Water quality – need to successfully address sustainable and targeted funding to address the complex issue for rural and urban Iowans
- Medicaid – the fastest growing expense in the state budget, approaching 25% of the state’s budget. Legislators need to make sure the oversight of the Managed Care Organizations is meeting both the quality of care and outcome, balanced with appropriate cost containment
- Mental health funding – need to establish funding solutions to support the regional mental health concept
- Minimum wage – the inconsistent county by county ordinances are not a viable state solution
What steps would you take to correct/ impact these issues?
- Will legislate with the basic tenet of fiscal responsibility and not spend more money than the state has and insure we have appropriate amounts in statutory reserve funds. This necessitates balancing priorities.
- The amount available for school funding will be heavily influenced by the status of the state’s tax revenue exceeding the current budget amount. Last year 77% of new funding was dedicated to education and I anticipate education will remain the top funding priority.
- The House of Representatives passed, in bi-partisan fashion, a start to establishing a sustainable funding source for water quality but the Senate did not consider the legislation. I believe the legislation passed by the House is a good starting point but will likely also need additional funding. Additional dedicated and protected funding may also emerge – something similar in concept to IWILL legislation to make sure we have the long term sustainable funding available.
The expansion of Medicaid has added approximately 150,000 eligible participants and now approximates 560,000 Iowans in some type of Medicaid program. The costs associated with this expansion have grown so rapidly, it threatens the state’s ability to adequately fund education, justice and judicial systems, and many other valuable services and programs. Managed Care implementation was and is an attempt to manage costs and improve health care delivery. An extensive oversight bill was passed to make sure Medicaid is a balanced portfolio of effective medical services delivered at the right time and in the right setting while insuring the costs are