At the beginning of the current Iowa legislative session, lawmakers had to make up a $117 million budget shortfall and took out funding from many state programs.
When the final budget numbers for the current fiscal year were presented, there was an additional $131 million shortfall. State Senator Jake Chapman (R) says the legislature had already funded programs for the year, so there were no cuts they could make to cover the increased shortfall. In order to make the budget work, the state’s reserve funds will be used and the governor is wanting those funds to be paid back over the next two years.
Chapman says he knows the cause of the problem, and believes he has a solution for future budgeting issues. “We’re not seeing the revenue growth that we have in years past. And that’s why I have continually fought for changing the way we do our budgeting here in Iowa. We are allowed to spend 99% of all available money, so that’s revenue, and that’s also money that’s sitting in those savings accounts. Well when we do that, we’re overextending ourselves. And I would much rather see us move towards tying our budget to what household income growth is.”
Chapman has filed a bill for numerous years that would allow the state budget to grow at half of what household income growth is. He believes it would give Iowa a slow and steady growth rate for state government. To hear more about the current legislative session, listen to Monday and Wednesday’s Perry Fareway Let’s Talk Dallas County programs at RaccoonValleyRadio.com.