by CBI Lobbyist
Overview / Major Events
The 4th week of the 2016 Session will be best remembered for the end of the Iowa caucus road show and the movement of the political epicenter from Iowa to New Hampshire. Functionally for the General Assembly, it meant that legislators stayed home on Monday to participate in their local party caucuses and that the week didn’t officially start until Tuesday.
However, Mother Nature had other plans, and while both the House and Senate officially opened for business on Tuesday, the storms kept most legislators home for a second day and no significant business was conducted until committee work resumed on Wednesday.
In addition, due to the death of former Iowa Senator Tom Hancock (D – Epworth), most of the Senate and many others involved in the legislative process will be departing Des Moines on Thursday morning to attend his memorial services in northeast Iowa. Senator Hancock served as recently as the 2012 Session before retiring from the General Assembly. He was a strong advocate for public safety issues and an individual with the ability to effectively work across party lines.
The Iowa Department of Management each month publishes a report on state receipts for the previous month – comparing them to the same month the previous fiscal year and year-to-date (YTD) from the previous fiscal year. FY16 has been somewhat of a challenge in that revenues have fallen behind estimates some months, only to bounce back in later months. The numbers have been somewhat unstable and that is unsettling to policy makers trying to gauge the strength of the state’s economy.
January 2016 receipts provided a slight bounce back and YTD receipts now stand at +3.1%, which is slightly behind the revenue estimate for FY16 at +3.7%. The bulk of state receipts come from three key revenue sources:
- Personal Income Tax: YTD +6.7% compared to FY16 estimate of +7.0%
- Sales / Use Tax: YTD +1.5% compared to FY16 estimate of +3.1%
- Corporate Income Tax: YTD -15.5% compared to FY16 estimate of -13.2%
However, for additional perspective, in addition to the ending balance, the state of Iowa is also holding cash reserves and emergency funds equal to 7.5% of the state budget (over $600 million) that provide significant security for the state’s cash flow needs, even in times of economic weakness.
First Legislative Funnel is 2 Weeks Away
As the 2016 Session is slated to end 10 days earlier than in 2015, the calendar is also adjusted and timelines shortened to encourage an on time finish this year. As such, the first legislative funnel will arrive in only two weeks. This means that policy bills must clear their committee of origin by the end of that week in order to remain eligible for further consideration by the General Assembly. Expect the next two weeks to be dominated by large calendars of subcommittee and committee work to move bills through that first funnel.
Efforts on Behalf of Community Bankers of Iowa: