Under the Golden Dome, Too – April 24

Upmeyer UTGD

The April rain showers we’ve been receiving have brought an abundance of bright green grass and new growth to our landscape; farmers are beginning to return to the fields to plant for a bountiful harvest in the fall; and in no time at all, warmer temperatures will be here to stay. You can’t beat springtime in Iowa.

On Wednesday, we laid out our proposed budget targets, which provide the framework for the state’s general budget as we move forward in the budget process. Our proposed Fiscal Year 2016 budget is balanced, sustainable, and responsible.

These targets reflect our commitment to maintaining the core budgeting principles we have stood by the past five legislative sessions. Like Iowans’ household budgets, these principles ensure the state does not spend more than we have and we continue to live within our means.

  • We will not spend more than we take in;
  • We will not use one-time revenue for ongoing expenses;
  • We will not intentionally underfund promises made to Iowans; and
  • We will return the overpayment of tax dollars to Iowa’s taxpayers.

Our proposed budget spends $7.168 billion, which is 99.9% of ongoing revenue. This is an increase of approximately $180 million over last year.

Included in our proposal is a $100 million increase for our K-12 schools. Providing additional resources for Iowa’s schools is a priority of ours. Our commitment to increasing educational funding, coupled with the increasing costs of our Medicaid obligations, means we will have to make difficult decisions. The budget targets released this week should make it clear to everyone what we have said the entire session- increasing funding for schools will result in cuts to every other area of the budget.

Each budget area target is as follows:
Administration and Regulation — $49.8 million (decrease of $1,995,769)
Agriculture and Natural Resources — $42.0 million (decrease of $1,111,995)
Economic Development — $41.4 million (decrease of $1,181,886)
Education — $977.6 million (decrease of $8,558,321)
Health and Human Services — $1.8 billion (decrease of $14,859,686)
Justice Systems — $728.0 million (decrease of $3,380,575)
Standings (K-12 funding appropriated here)– $3.5 billion (increase of $204,905,562)

We will continue to stick to our budgeting principles throughout the budget negotiations. Passing anything but a sustainable budget will lead to decreased services to Iowans down the road. Living within one’s means is something the hardworking taxpayers of Iowa do every day. Government needs to do the same. I think most would agree we should be able to fund the priorities of Iowans with a $7 billion budget that increases $180 million this year.

As the process moves forward, I look forward to working with all members of the House, Senate, and Governor to finalize a budget that is in the best interest of Iowans.

If you have any feedback or questions about the issues before us, please do not hesitate to contact me. I can be reached at linda.upmeyer@legis.iowa.gov or 515-281-4618.

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