by CBI Lobbyist
Overview / Major Events
House and Senate leaders announced on Wednesday they had reached agreement on budget targets for the fiscal year 2017 (FY17) budget. The targets call for spending $7.349 in the general fund for FY17, which is a 2.4% increase in the general fund over FY16. Earlier decisions to couple state taxes with federal changes on Section 179 expensing and to increase K-12 state aid to schools by 2.25% set the parameters for yesterday’s announcement, but disagreements over higher education spending kept leaders working throughout the week until reaching an agreement.
This now allows House and Senate appropriators to get busy moving 10 separate budget bills through the House and Senate over the next two to three weeks. It also suggests the 2016 session of the Iowa General Assembly will likely conclude on, or shortly after, the scheduled April 19 adjournment date.
March Revenue Grows 6.1% Over March 2015
Revenue numbers for the state through the month of March were released earlier this week and the news was mostly good. Overall, March 2016 revenue collections exceeded collections for March 2015 by 6.1%, and brought year-to-date (YTD) revenue collections closer to the revenue estimate.
YTD state revenue is growing at a rate of 3.1% (with the revenue estimate for the current year sitting at3.6%--meaning state revenue is running slightly behind the estimate).
Senate Approves Enhance Iowa Legislation
The Iowa Senate approved SF 2308, the Enhance Iowa legislation, on a 34-16 vote this week. Enhance Iowa will reinvigorate the old Vision Iowa program with a new approach, a new funding mechanism, and a new board to encourage public-private investments in quality of life initiatives throughout the state.
Water Quality Initiative Clears House Appropriations Committee
Legislation to find a new funding source for significant water quality investments continued to move in the Iowa House this week. After being approved in House Ways and Means the week prior, this week the House Appropriations Committee approved HF 2451, a bill that would pump millions of additional dollars (and it would increase each year) into water quality programs. The bill functionally diverts the sales tax from the sale of water by a water utility into a new excise tax that will fund the water quality initiatives.
HF 2451 was endorsed by Governor Branstad earlier this week (finding a new funding source for water quality was his highest priority this year) and is scheduled for debate on the House floor this coming Monday (April 11).