We had another successful week in the House. Several more budget bills moved through the process and were sent to bipartisan conference committees where they will hopefully find resolution quickly.
As the budgets have been moving through the House and Senate, it has become clear that Democrats have already begun to surpass their own budget targets.
In February, House Republicans and Senate Democrats each released their budget targets. At that time, Senate Democrats proposed spending $6.9 billion in Fiscal Year 2014 ($487 million more than House Republicans) resulting in an 11 percent increase in state General Fund spending over last year’s level. The Senate proposal spends over $1.05 for every dollar of state revenue.
By contrast, the House Republican budget spends 98 cents for every dollar of state revenue. The Fiscal Year 2014 proposal by House Republicans spends $6.4139 billion. This is a 3 percent increase over last year’s spending level and it protects priority services in the areas of education, health and human services and public safety.
Over the last 20 years, state revenue has averaged 3.4 percent growth.
As budgets have been working through the legislative process over the past few weeks, it has become clear that Senate Democrats have already surpassed their own unsustainable budget targets. The budgets that passed the Senate have spent nearly $47 million more than what their initial targets laid out. These changes have raised the amount of the Senate’s budget to an 11.6% increase in state General Fund spending over last year’s level, and they still have not acted on the Standings bill.
The House Republicans’ budgets outline principles used to get the state’s fiscal house in order:
- Republican budgets do not spend more money than the state takes in;
- Republican budgets do not use one-time money to pay for on-going expenses;
- Republican budgets do not intentionally underfund entitlement programs to balance the state’s budget;
- Republican budgets will return unused tax dollars to Iowa’s taxpayers.
As always, feel free to contact me if you have any questions or concerns. My office phone is (515)281-3521 or email is firstname.lastname@example.org.