Linda Upmeyer

It’s week three of the 2018 Iowa legislative session and middle-of-the-year state budget cuts loom large. However, lawmakers say they’re still searching for answers to key details. Republican Governor Kim Reynolds has proposed about $20 million dollars worth of cuts — and she’s suggested $10 million dollars won’t be spent in the Medicaid program which provides health care coverage for poor, disabled and elderly Iowa.

Republican House Speaker Linda Upmeyer says that much savings in Medicaid seems “counter-intuitive.”

“We really want to understand how that would be possible because we’re actually inclined to think that doesn’t make sense,” Upmeyer says.

There are about 22 weeks left in the 12-month-long state spending plan. Voting on mid-year budget cuts as soon as possible is the goal, according to Upmeyer, who says state agencies have already begun to hold off on spending.

“Frankly, everybody’s on notice based on the governor’s recommendations,” Upmeyer says, “so I think they’re responding to that as they spend their dollars internally.”

Reynolds has recommended cutting the state prison budget by $3.4 million. She’s also recommending a $5.1 million cut to the three state universities and a $1.9 million reduction for the 15 area community colleges.

In addition to the $10 million dollar projected savings in the state’s Medicaid budget, Reynolds recommends more than $3 million worth of cuts elsewhere in the Department of Human Services.

The current year’s state budget runs through June 30, 2018.