Will Iowa Lawmakers Cut the Governor's Already-Lean Budget?

Apr 3, 2017

Governor Branstad has submitted his revised budget to the state legislature, as lawmakers move toward considering a spending plan for the next fiscal year.  IPR Statehouse correspondent Joyce Russell told Clay Masters that the governor had to revise an earlier budget proposal after the Revenue Estimating Conference met in March and said the state would take in less money than expected.

“It is two-percent leaner than the one he [Branstad] submitted in January, which was already pretty lean,” Russell says, explaining the revised budget is only a tiny bit larger than the 2017 budget.

Were there any surprised?  Not really, says Russell. 

“Higher education again comes out poorly,” she says.  “The regents’ universities already taken two rounds of cuts already, and the governor’s budget for next year has taken them $3 million below this year’s budget.” 

And the final budget might look different than the governor’s proposal.  Russell says Republicans have not been shy in the past about spending less than the governor proposes.

“The governor’s budget is just about tight as it gets with virtually no ending balance for wiggle room,” Russel says.  “Fiscal conservatives could make the argument that there ought to be some cushion in there in care revenues fall short again.”

Another big piece of legislation working its way through the legislature would restrict abortion in Iowa.

“A good portion of GOP lawmakers would like to ban all abortions and a court challenge is really the only thing standing in the way of that,” Russell says. 

Lawmakers last week briefly considered a bill that would ban abortions after a fetal heartbeat could be detected – about six weeks.  Republicans seem to have settled on banning abortions after the 20th week of pregnancy.  One matter to be resolved in a disagreement between the House and Senate on whether to make exceptions for fetal anomalies.