The State Auditor says the state’s financial condition is “serious” but there’s no need for legislators to come back this fall to patch up last year’s state budget. State Auditor Dave Vaudt says there’s no need for a special legislative session to shift over 60 million dollars from state cash reserves to makeup for last-minute tax payments that were lower than expected. But Vaudt says it’s time for Democrat Governor Tom Vilsack and Republican lawmakers who control the legislature’s agenda to quit spending “everything that comes in the door.”Vaudt says “we’re at a very critical time in Iowa’s financial future, and this is an opportunity” to refocus. Vaudt, who’s a Republican in his first year as State Auditor, says now’s the time for “difficult decisions” and he says it won’t be easy or fun. Vaudt says in the past five years, the state has spent one-point-four billion dollars from reserve accounts — with no clear plan for refilling those funds. He says that means lawmakers and the Governor have been spending more than the state has been taking in. Vaudt says “when you’re digging a hole, and you can no longer see out, it’s time to stop digging.” Vaudt says statehouse politicians have been unwilling to exhibit the “self-discipline” necessary to stop over-spending. Vaudt says it’s time to think about closing down some state programs, although he didn’t specify which ones. Vaudt says the decisions are not going to be easy, but with such depleted cash reserves, it’s time for state leaders to make difficult decisions. In December, Vaudt will issue a financial report on the state budgeting year that ended June 30th and will disclose the shortfall — as well as the fact the state has enough in reserve to cover it.
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