Democrats in the Iowa Legislature now say they’ll cut spending by more than $600-million next year after learning that state revenue estimates will be dramatically lower. Revenue experts say state tax collections will be down $400-million and they will have to cut the budget by 12%.
Senator Bob Dvorsky, a Democrat from Corallville who is the chair of the appropriations committee, says that means some state workers could lose their jobs. "I think it’s really going to be difficult to cut 12% and not have some layoffs," Dvorsky says. Dvorsky says lawmakers plan to use federal stimulus money to offset the losses in the current fiscal year, but no program is safe in the next budget.
Dvorsky says, "There’s been programs for years that people have said well do we really need this and somehow they manage to survive so maybe now is the time to look at those again." He says the new revenue estimates bring the reality of the situation to lawmakers.
Dvorsky says he thinks people are a little bit in shock right now trying to figure out how to reach their budget number for 2010, but says they have to be sure the budget is fiscally sound because "2011’s gonna be worse." Dvorsky declined to name any specific programs that might be cut.