Governor Chet Culver is hoping to get legislators to agree to revamp the way the state budget is developed. “The key is that we have to look at reforming the way that we put our budgets together,” Culver says. “And I’m really looking forward to talking with legislators about how we can make some of those changes.”
By law, Iowa’s governor is to submit a spending plan to legislators in January. That budget outline is based on an estimate of state tax revenue which comes from the three-member Revenue Estimating Conference meeting in December. However, legislators often wait ’til that three-member panel of experts meets again in March to start drafting a final version of the state budget.
Culver, who is a Democrat, says it makes no sense to “sit around and wait” for three months. “For now, I’d really like us to get moving on the budget — the Fiscal ’11 budget — in January rather than waiting ’til March,” Culver says. “I’ve had some discussions about that with the Democratic leaders and looking forward to continuing those talks.”
Culver’s also hoping to change the way the three-member Revenue Estimating Conference estimates state tax revenue. According to Culver, that panel is “limited” in what economic indicators they can use as the basis for their estimate of state tax collections.
“That doesn’t make any sense to me. They should be able to look at anything they want,” Culver says, “because all’s we care about it them getting it right.” Culver is scheduled to meet Monday with his “Council of Economic Advisors” to discuss the economy as well as ways to better predict and estimate state tax revenue.