State Auditor Mary Mosiman is predicting the state budget will remain in the black for the next 11 months, even though the latest budget plan spends $171 million more than the state is expected to collect in taxes. Mosiman says the state’s ample surplus will cover the difference.
“These are dollars that are not new revenue in this fiscal year, but they are revenes that have been received over previous fiscal years.” Mosiman says.
Mosiman has just released her analysis of the state spending plan lawmakers and the governor approved this spring for the budgeting year that began July 1. She gives lawmakers good marks for “spending discipline” and for filling up all the reserve accounts set aside for economic emergencies. But Mosiman is warning that lawmakers cannot keep dipping into the state surplus to finance education reform and fulfill the promise that the state would make payments to local governments as commercial property tax rates go down.
“In other words we have two key laws that were enacted in 2013 that start having a financial impact on this year and future year budgets,” Mosiman says, “so long-term planning is key.”
Mosiman says the state currently has a $746 million surplus, but by June 30 of next year it will likely be reduced to around $575 million. Legislators drafted a budget plan this spring and Governor Branstad took final action on the budget bills in May and June, nixing some spending proposals. The auditor’s report concludes the final spending plan for state government operations totals $7.4 billion.
Mosiman, a Republican, was appointed state auditor over a year ago by Governor Terry Branstad and she’s on the November ballot, seeking a four-year term as state auditor.