Two years ago, Iowa faced a $900 million budget shortfall. Today, we have an ending balance of $688 million and our budget reserves are full. This is a fundamental change in legislative decision making, driven by Iowans. This is a significant departure from how government operated in the past where every dollar was spent, even some we didn’t have.
House Republicans have instilled a fundamental culture change and we will not retreat now. As we began moving budget bills through the House this week, we have remained committed to the principles used to get our fiscal house in order:
- We will not spend more money than the state takes in;
- We will not use one-time money to pay for on-going expenses;
- We will not intentionally underfund entitlement programs to balance the state’s budget;
- We will return unused tax dollars to Iowa’s taxpayers.
As a reminder, the overall amount of revenue that is available to be spent in Fiscal Year 2014 is $7.1822 billion. This amount includes the $688.1 million in the ending balance that is an overpayment by Iowa taxpayers. The amount of ongoing revenue that is available is $6.5377 billion. 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.
This budget proposal includes the funding necessary to maintain our commitment to education; including the funding necessary to allow the Regents universities to freeze tuition, $10 million increase to the community colleges, $1 million increase for Iowa Tuition Grant needs, and a two percent increase in supplemental state aid for our local schools.
The House Republican budget spends 98 cents for every dollar of state revenue.
While revenue growth is currently ahead of projections, there is a great deal of uncertainty about future revenue due to the on-going drought conditions, slow economic growth, and the federal sequestration.
This week we passed the first of our budget proposals on the House floor – the Transportation, Administration and Regulation and Education budgets. With these bills we remained committed to the budgeting principles that put the state on solid ground and bring certainty to Iowa taxpayers and employers.
Here are links to the analysis of each of these budget bills:
House File 602 Transportation Budget
House File 603 Administration and Regulation Budget
House File 604 Education Budget
As always, if you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me at my office (515) 281-3521 or by email at email@example.com