Tonight, Governor Terry Branstad formally presented legislators with his plan to ensure the current year’s state budget does not slip into a deficit.
A three-member panel of experts threw the current year’s spending plan into disarray by reducing the “official” estimate of state tax revenue by $131 million. Branstad, as expected, has formally told lawmakers it’s time to dip into the state’s cash reserve to cover that expected shortfall.
“It’s not an easy situation,” Branstad said during his weekly news conference on Monday when asked to preview his latest budget plans.
Republican legislative leaders have indicated they’re also willing to use the state’s cash reserve fund to keep the state budget in the black. The budget documents Branstad’s staff released tonight also show the governor has pared his initial budget plan by more than $173 million for the next state fiscal year that begins July 1 as well. There’s nearly $15 million of unspecified trimming throughout the executive branch of state government. Branstad has reduced his initial budget plans for the three state universities by $12 million.
Branstad was forced to redraft his spending plan for the 2018 state fiscal year once the Revenue Estimating Conference reduced its prediction of state tax revenue for that fiscal year as well.
(This post was updated at 9:06 p.m. and 9:59 p.m.)