This week marked the conclusion of the second funnel and the final resting point for a great deal of policy legislation that did NOT survive for additional consideration this year (watch next week’s report for a full accounting of what lived and what died).
School Start date resolved:
As reported last week, both the House and Senate had adopted identical language on a compromise school start date for K-12 schools. However, the legislation was being held from further movement by a procedural motion (“motion to reconsider”) filed by Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal. Senator Gronstal, early this week, removed his motion and that means the bill will now be transmitted to Governor Branstad and he has indicated he will sign the bill. With the signing of SF 227, schools will no longer be able to start school prior to the 23rd of August.
School funding stalemate continues:
Senate Democrats this week offered to split the difference with House Republicans to resolve the school funding stalemate that has lasted most of this 2015 legislative session. Their offer was to increase supplemental state aid to K-12 schools by 2.625% ($105 million), the mid point between the Senate-passed 4.0% ($162 million) and the House-passed 1.25% ($50 million).
House Republicans rejected the offer, citing an extremely tight budget for the upcoming fiscal year and the additional $50 million it has already authorized for funding the teacher leadership as part of the landmark 2013 education reform legislation.
View the Iowa Legislative Bill Tracker.
This week the Iowa Senate confirmed dozens of Governor Branstad’s appointees to numerous Iowa boards and commissions, including former State Representatives Dolores Mertz to another term on the State Racing and Gaming Commission and Joe Riding to his first term on the Environmental Protection Commission.
Major work continues on appointments and the Senate has until April 15 to complete its work on the remaining boards and commissions.
March general fund revenue drops slightly in March, but steady for the year:
- Each month the Department of Management publishes a memo detailing monthly general fund revenue growth as compared to the same month the previous fiscal year and year-to-date compared to the same period the last fiscal year.
- March 2015 general fund receipts were 2.2% lower than for the same month in 2014 (that said, March 2014 collections were exceptionally high due to some timing issues). The biggest drivers for this slight decrease were in personal income tax collections, which fell by $7 million over the same month in 2014 and sales/use tax which fell by about $10 million over the same month in 2014.
- A better measure of general fund revenue growth is the nine-month year-to-date comparison. For the first nine months of 2015, state revenue has grown by 3.5% over the previous time period in 2014.
- This 3.5% growth closely matches the revenue estimate for 2015, which called for state revenue to increase by 3.8%.
Efforts on Behalf of Community Bankers of Iowa:
- House Ways and Means Chairman Tom Sands introduced HSB 232, a bill to allow the creation of rural business growth funds and provide them with a new state tax credit, so as to incent investments in rural businesses.