State Auditor Dave Vaudt says the state budget plan Governor Branstad has developed for next year is “on the right track.”
“As I’ve always said before, I don’t give grades, but I would tell you it’s a huge improvement,” Vaudt told reporters this morning. “When I look back just three years ago, three budget years ago, we were in what I would call a real pickle.”
Branstad submitted his state budget outline to legislators in January. Vaudt held a news conference this morning to publicly announce his view of Branstad’s plan.
AUDIO of Vaudt’s 28-minute news conference.
Vaudt said Branstad, a fellow Republican, is “thinking longer term” and has curbed the practice of using one-time payments to the state for on-going expenses.
“We’re definitely on the right track today,” Vaudt said. “I feel very good about Iowa’s financial condition today versus what it was a few years ago — in contrast to the federal government. That side is pretty scary with where they’re at today.”
Vaudt’s main criticism of Branstad’s budget plan is it dips into the state’s economic emergency fund to pay for disaster recovery, like the state’s share of funding for flood recovery projects in Cedar Rapids. Vaudt argues state policymakers should set aside money every year to pay for disaster-related projects rather than dip into the state’s savings account to cover those costs.