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Guest Opinion from the Iowa State Senate

As your state senator, I’m paying close attention to how the deepening national recession is affecting Iowa families, businesses, communities and the state budget.
When the current state budget was approved, I pushed for cuts in spending compared to the previous year. Those cuts mean reduced state spending in almost every area of the budget, including travel and compensation for legislators.
The question now is whether additional cuts will be needed to balance this year’s budget.
In early October, a panel of non-partisan state budget experts will release new revenue estimates. Based on their findings, it’s likely that additional cuts will be necessary.
Regardless of what happens, I’m committed to balancing the state budget, not raising taxes and protecting the top priorities of Iowans.
I am also committed to supporting programs that help jobless Iowans and initiatives that will spark an economic recovery in every Iowa community.
By being fiscally responsible, Iowa will emerge from these tough economic times ready to take advantage of new opportunities in the future.

Helping Iowans keep their homes

We’ve taken steps at the Statehouse to help Iowans keep their homes during the current mortgage crisis.
This year, I voted to help prevent certain foreclosures and to provide homeowners with information when they face potential foreclosure. Here are some of the changes we’ve made:
- Sheriff’s sales can now be postponed up to 60 days to facilitate last minute deals between lenders and borrowers. Previously they could be postponed only six days.
- People who are forced out of their homes because of natural disasters or other casualties, which were not their fault, will not lose their homestead protections.
- Lenders can no longer use “fast-track” foreclosures against homeowners who have not abandoned their property.
- Creditors must inform borrowers through a “Mortgage Mediation Notice” that free, confidential help from trained housing counselors is available through Iowa Mortgage Help at toll-free 877-622-4866.
This particular change in law has already assisted more than 1,000 Iowans in getting the help they need. As of June 30, 387 Iowans contacting Iowa Mortgage Help indicated that they’d learned about the hotline through a “Mortgage Mediation Notice.” By July 30, that number had jumped to 657, and by Aug. 30, to 976.
For more information on the services available to homeowners through Iowa Mortgage Help, go to www.IowaMortgageHelp.com.