The state’s Revenue Estimating Conference (REC) met recently to review and revise state revenue estimates for fiscal years 2014 and 2015. The meeting produced a unique result – no change. General fund revenue for FY 2014 is projected to by $6.6822 billion and for FY 2015 the figure remains at $6.9832 billion.
State law requires the three-member board to meet once during the legislative session to refine the revenue estimates for the current year and for the budget year that is being developed by the general assembly. If the REC’s estimate for the next fiscal year were to be reduced, the governor would have been required to revise and resubmit his budget. If the estimate goes up, the Legislature is not allowed to spend the increase.
Since their last meeting in mid-December, there had been some concern the REC would be forced to lower its projection for FY 2015. In January and February, general fund receipts were not growing at a significant pace. That changed toward the end of February and into March, where personal income tax receipts began to show steadier growth.
At the Thursday meeting, all three members of the REC expressed the belief that the Iowa economy is growing but not at the pace experienced during the past few years. But, all three members also expressed concern over the agricultural economy in Iowa. For each of the members, the key word was “caution.” While Iowa’s economy is growing, there are items that could darken the picture going forward.
The group did revise the gaming revenue projections down for both FY 2014 and FY 2015. They agreed that gaming receipts would be $3.6 million less in both years. This will result in a $7.2 million reduction of available RIIF funds in FY 2015.