Governor Terry Branstad’s plan for erasing the anticipated red ink in the current year’s state budget may be overhauled by legislators.
“We’ve been warning that the level of spending was cumulating to a point where this kind of crisis was going to occur and we’re prepared to fix it,” says Senate Republican Leader Bill Dix of Shell Rock.
While there’s not as much tax revenue as originally predicted, Dix says the state is still collecting more taxes this year.
“We only have so much money,” Dix says. “…I would suggest that should be plenty for us to find a way to accomplish a balanced budget that treats the state budget like a family budget.”
Republicans and Democrats have raised concerns about the depth of Branstad’s proposed cuts to the agencies that run the state’s prisons and put troopers on the highways. Others have suggested the governor’s proposed cut to the judicial branch is too steep. House Speaker Linda Upmeyer, a Republican from Clear Lake, isn’t ready to share details, but she does confirm legislators will adjust Branstad’s plan.
“We’ve got a couple of different ideas than the governor, so we’ll have those conversations and by early in the week we’ll be able to hopefully file a bill and get it moving through committee and get it done,” Upmeyer says.
Other issues are on hold, so legislators can make this budget decision first. Upmeyer says the longer legislators wait, the worse the current year’s budget dilemma will be.
“It’s tough,” Upmeyer says. “We know that, so we want to make sure we get it done and we get it done as quick as we can.”
Branstad has proposed $110 million in cuts to the current year’s state budget. Republicans will match that. Some Republicans are even hoping to award more tax cuts to small business and farmers for the depreciation of assets. The governor did not include that tax adjustment in his budget outline.