The top two leaders in the Iowa legislature say state budget planning is a bit more difficult because of the tax-and-spending stalemate between congress and President Obama. Republican Kraig Paulsen, the speaker of the Iowa House, says if proposed federal budget cuts aren’t averted, the state will get up to $60 million less in federal support for the next budgeting year.
“But my hope and my expectation is they will have resolved their decisions that they have to make before we have to do ours,” Paulsen says, “just because of the way the time lines fall out.”
The largest share of federal aid in the state budget covers Medicaid and food stamps benefits, plus the so-called Bush tax cuts are set to expire on December 31 and, if that happens, state tax revenues would decline. The Iowa legislature convenes January 14, 2013.
Senate Democratic Leader Mike Gronstal, a Democrat from Council Bluffs, says state legislators always have to do a bit of guessing about federal spending.
“But the size of the problem is fairly easy to identify, a kind of worst-case scenario,” Gronstal says. “…We can assemble things based on a worst-case scenario, make adjustments as that maybe turns out not to be the worst case.”
Gronstal says he’s hopeful both sides in Washington, D.C. will recognize the election’s over, “set aside their partisan slings and arrows” and decide it’s time to govern. Gronstal and Paulsen made their comments during taping of the “Iowa Press” program which airs at 7:30 tonight on Iowa Public Television.