Iowa's Legislature Heads into April with Tax Cuts and a Budget Still to be Worked Out

Apr 2, 2018

We’re heading into the last few weeks of the legislative session, and there are still a few big things to be done before lawmakers go home, as we hear in a discussion between IPR's Joyce Russell and Michael Leland on Morning Edition.

Tax bill and new budget.  We don’t have either yet because lawmakers haven’t decided on the “size of the pie” for next year’s budget.  IPR Statehouse Correspondent Joyce Russell says lawmakers still have to decide how much money they’re taking off the table through tax cuts.  “A lot of people have been wondering, if you take a lot of money off the table through tax cuts…that means next year’s state budget might not grow at all?”  House Speaker Linda Upmeyer says the budget will be “a little bigger”, but some areas of state government might “move backward.”

The governor signed a  big mental health bill last week.  Russell says the heart of the bill mandates new services across the state to help people in mental crises.  A second bill mandates suicide prevention training for schools.  There’s wide agreement that these things are badly needed, says Russell, and agreement that this is “a start."

Will Gov. Reynolds face a primary challenge?  Former Cedar Rapids Mayor Ron Corbett is challenging a decision last week that said he didn’t have quite enough petition signatures to get on the June ballot.  He is asking a judge to overturn that ruling.  Russell says it’s nearly time to print the primary ballots, so a decision is expected soon.  Even if Corbett gets on the ballot, Russell says he has a lot of work ahead. “All along he has had an uphill battle against the Republican establishment, which is firmly behind Gov. Reynolds.”