Week 14 of the 2015 session of the Iowa General Assembly has concluded and this week Senate Democrats published their budget targets for the upcoming fiscal year (FY16) in an attempt to jump start work on the state budget.
To date, neither Chamber has passed even one piece of budget legislation, as House Republicans and Senate Democrats remain deadlocked on school funding. That may change in the coming week as Iowa school districts are required by state law to certify their FY16 budgets by April 15 (yesterday) and many will opt to certify those budgets at either zero growth or at the 1.25% growth level favored by House Republicans and the Governor.
In addition, April 15 was also the date by which the Iowa Senate either had to approve or reject all of the Governor Branstad’s appointments to the various state departments, boards and commissions.
Senate Democrats Release Budget Targets: in 2014 the House Republicans and Senate Democrats were able to agree on joint budget targets relatively early in the legislative session and this resulted in speedy work on the state budget and adjournment in late April. This year is completely different.
Lacking agreement with House Republicans, Senate Democrats released their targets on Tuesday (April 14), proposing to spend $16 million more than Governor Branstad – but offsetting that increase with $16 million in proposed savings from another round of early retirements.
View the Iowa Legislative Bill Tracker.
Administration and Regulation: Senate targets are $1.3 million less
Agriculture and Natural Resources: Senate targets are $1.5 million less
Economic Development: Senate targets are nearly $225,000 million less
Education: Senate targets are $3.5 million more (does not include K-12 school aid)
Health and Human Services: Senate targets are $26 million less
Justice System: Senate targets are $2 million less
Standings (including K-12 school aid): Senate targets are $44 million more
House Republicans have not yet set specific category by category budget targets, but have repeatedly stated they would not be spending more than ongoing state revenue, which is projected in FY16 to be $7.175 billion – which is $166 million LESS than either Governor Branstad and $183 million LESS than Senate Democrats.
It is this huge budget gap (which represents more than 2% of total state spending) that is likely to keep the General Assembly in Session until late May or early June this year.
Branstad Appointees Confirmed: The Iowa Senate confirmed the final set of Governor Branstad’s appointees this week in the face of an April 15 deadline to either approve or disapprove every individual on the confirmation calendar. Here are the key appointees approved this week (34 votes are needed):
Janet Phipps Burkhead, Department of Administrative Services, on a 46-4 vote
Chuck Palmer, Department of Human Services, on a 39-11 vote
David Roederer, Department of Management, on a 48-2 vote
Joe Cortese, Workers Compensation Commissioner, on a 42-8 vote
Efforts on Behalf of Community Bankers of Iowa:
- HSB 232, a bill to create small business investment opportunities through the creation of rural growth funds and a rural development tax credit is now scheduled for a subcommittee in the Iowa House on 4/21/15.
- CBI is working with the Iowa Division of Banking to determine if the provisions of HSB 232 will provide opportunities for community banks to invest in these rural growth funds and receive the tax credit.