FY 18 budget faces $34M in proposed cuts

CAPITOL LETTERS

BY STATE REPRESENTATIVE DAN A. HUSEMAN

R-District 3, Aurelia

Work continues on the state budgets for both FY 18 and FY 19. The FY 18 budget needs to be adjusted to make sure we do not spend more than we take in. The FY 19 budget will reflect the priorities Iowans have expressed to us including K-12 schools, healthcare and strengthening our businesses  — especially small employers and those in rural Iowa. The Governor and Senate Republicans have released proposed budget reduction plans for FY 18. Our goal in the House is to protect K-12 education and Medicaid, and come up with a common sense compromise.

On Wednesday, House Republicans released a proposal to cut FY 18 budget by about $34 million. This is considerably less than the Senates plan, which would slash $52 million. Both plans have a buit-in cushion just in case. March revenue estimates come in lower once again. House and Senate leaders continue to meet to try to find a compromise. The sooner this happens, the better for everyone, since we are getting late into the fiscal year.

Also on Wednesday, the House and Senate passed education funding bills. The problem is, they are not identical, so there will be more discussions between the Chambers. The goals are the same – it is just how to get there. The House bill would increase K-12 funding by about $32 million. This is a one issue, stand-alone bill.  It is the intent of the House to appropriate $10 million for transportation costs, and extend the one-cent sales tax. These bills would be debated later. The Senate education bill includes some money for transportation costs, but does not really target where the problem is, namely, trying to assist those school districts which have extremely high per-pupil transportation costs. Negotiations began Thursday to work out a compromise. I will report on final numbers in a future newsletter. 

You may reach me at the Capitol during the week by phoning me at 515-281-3221, or at home is 712-434-5880. You may write me at the State Capitol, Des Moines, Iowa 50319. My home address is P. O. Box 398, Aurelia, Iowa 51005. If you have email, please contact me at dan.huseman@legis. iowa.gov.