State Auditor David Vaught says the state budget plan House Republicans have drawn up is a step in the right direction, but it still spends more than the state will be collecting in taxes. “It’s so critical that we control our spending growth considering that in the current fiscal year we had a seven percent growth in spending,” Vaught says.
According to the auditor, the House Republicans’ budget plan will lead to the layoffs of state employees and does not include money to raise the pay of teachers, and raising teacher pay one of Democrat Governor Tom Vilsack’s priorities.
Vaught cautions lawmakers to look at the “big picture.” “What I’m really looking for is as they have some of these discussion is to say: ‘If they want to put more money into education and so forth, then what areas am I willing to reduce my spending in?'” Vaught says. “We cannot continue to say ‘I’m going to spend more, but I don’t have the (tax) revenues to support it.'”
Vaught is also critical of the House Republican plan for spending the expected surplus that’ll be left when the state budgeting year is over June 30th rather than putting that money into the state’s cash reserve, a sort of rainy day savings account. “It really leaves us with no cushion” if the economy goes south, according to Vaught. Vaught says he’s pleased House Republicans are choosing to refill some of the state’s other savings accounts that have been raided in the past few years in lawmakers’ search for more money to spend.