House Republicans announced they had reached agreement with Senate Democrats on the size of the fiscal year 2015 state budget. Next year’s general fund budget will spend $6.9718 billion.
The overall budget will spend 99.84 percent of ongoing state revenue. This is just 91.14 percent of the allowed amount under the state’s expenditure limitation law. The agreement also complies with House Republicans four budgeting principles:
• We will spend less than the state collects.
• We will not use one-time money to fund on-going needs.
• We will not balance the budget by intentionally underfunding programs.
• We will return unused tax dollars to Iowa’s taxpayers.
In addition to reaching agreement on the overall size of the budget, House Republicans and Senate Democrats also agreed to the allocation of funds amongst the seven budget subcommittees. The FY 2015 budget breaks down as follows:
• Standing appropriations — $3,259,159,606
• Economic development — $44,331,886
• Justice systems — $728,962,920
• Agriculture and natural resources — $43,061,995
• Health and humans services — $1,858,353,019
• Administration and regulation — $51,795,769
• Education — $986,136,365
Within the budget targets, the state will meet the commitments made by the Legislature and Gov. Branstad in the historic 2013 session. Funding is provided for the 4 percent increase in supplemental state aid for schools, funds the education reform agreement and implements the commercial property-tax bill. Additionally, the budget provides funding levels to ensure a second year of tuition freezes at Iowa’s three Regents universities.
The agreement on joint budget targets between the Republican-controlled House and the Democrat-controlled Senate is a first in recent legislative history. The last time there were joint budget targets between the two chambers was during the 80th General Assembly (2003-04). At that time, both chambers were controlled by Republicans.
The joint spending targets have arrived more than two months earlier than the process in 2013. Agreement on the budget was not reached until May 10, with the Legislature adjourning the session on May 23.
Please join me at one of my legislative coffees during the course of the 2014 legislative session.
Legislative Forum Events
• Friday, March 28
Noon – Lakeside Casino in Osceola