As I and my fellow Legislators begin the process of digging into the details of Governor Branstad's FY 2014/2015 budget proposal, one thing is becoming apparent. The success of fiscal discipline and operating with responsible budgeting principles has been reconfirmed.
Living within our means - It's a common fact of life for Iowa families; not spending more than you take in. For government, it is often a foreign concept. Going into the 2011 session, the Legislature had spent more than it had taken in for the previous five years. But in the 2011 session, we made a commitment the state would not spend more than what it received in on-going revenue. For the last two years, state spending has been below the state's on-going revenue number. This is not expected to change in the next two years as Iowa continues to see strong revenue growth and responsible budgeting.
The budget gap - As part of its analysis each fall, the Legislative Services Agency provides for legislators an estimate of the built-in expenditure projections as compared to projected state revenues and ending balances. When the Legislature convened in January of 2010, it was faced with a budget gap of $1.070 billion dollars for FY 2011. For the FY 2014 budget (the one we will be working on this year), the LSA analysis determined that there is not a budget gap. In fact if the Legislature simply funded LSA's projected expenditure growth, the state would have an ending balance of $789 million at the end of FY 2014.
Reserve Funds When the 2011 session began, it had been three fiscal years since the state's two reserve funds Cash Reserve Fund and Economic Emergency Fund had been filled to their required level of ten percent of the state budget. The funds were created to ensure that the state pays schools and its employees on time, but that ability was being challenged by the Legislature's use of these funds for on-going spending. Since January 2011, the two reserve funds have been filled to the required levels and the Taxpayers Trust Fund (created in 2011) has received its first deposit of $60 million.
Hopefully Iowans understand that the state's fiscal standing has improved greatly thanks to a growing Iowa economy and the fiscal discipline displayed over the past two years at the Statehouse.
To reach Rep. Dave Deyoe, call
(515) 382-2352 or send an email to: