by CBI Lobbyist Jeff Boeyink - Partner, LS2 Group
Overview / Major Events
Week 2 has concluded and there is still NO deal on the need to cut approximately $100 million from the current FY16 state budget. Yesterday afternoon delegations of House and Senate Republican leaders were seen going into the Governor’s office for continued negotiations in an effort to seek resolution on what is becoming a difficult problem to solve.
As we are already more than half way through the FY16 budget year, every day that passes means the ultimate cuts that are approved will be that much more difficult for the impacted agencies and programs to absorb.
State law requires general fund spending in any year may not exceed 99% of anticipated state revenue. With the December revenue estimate for FY16 being lowered once again, the current level of spending would likely exceed that legal limit – thus, the need for a spending cut during the first part of the current legislation session.
With some leaders leaving Des Moines this morning for Washington, DC and the Trump Inaugural activities, resolution of this problem will likely remain as unfinished business until next week.
Senator Mathis Not Running for Governor
State Senator Liz Mathis was widely viewed as a leading potential gubernatorial candidate in the Iowa Democratic Party and had been actively recruited by the Democratic Governors Association for the 2018 election cycle. This week she announced she would NOT be a candidate for governor in 2018.
The former news anchor from Cedar Rapids just came off a bruising reelection campaign last November. She had initially been a target of Republicans as a potential pick-up seat at the start of the campaign cycle, but Republicans pulled the plug on her opponent in the last few weeks as it became clear Senator Mathis was running strong in her eastern Iowa seat (and it turned out she was the ONLY incumbent targeted by Republicans that survived the 2016 election).
Senator Mathis cited the fund raising burden associated with a gubernatorial run (likely in excess of $10 million) and concerns for her family as the chief reasons she made it known that she was removing her name from consideration.
Democrats have one announced gubernatorial candidate in Rich Leopold, the former director of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources for former Governor Culver.
Personally, I expect a robust primary on the Democrat side as establishment Democrats struggle to coalesce around a candidate to stave off a likely attempt by Iowa backers of Bernie Sanders to nominate their own candidate.
Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds Reports Nearly $1.1 million in Campaign Cash
Campaign finance reports were due yesterday and Iowa’s next governor reported a campaign cash balance of nearly $1.1 million in her account. Even before Governor Branstad accepted President-elect Trump’s nomination as US Ambassador to China, Lt. Governor Reynolds was actively fund raising in the event there would be an open Republican primary for governor in 2018.
With $1.1 million in campaign cash already socked away, and the prospect of raising as much as another $1.5 to $2.0 million in 2017 once she becomes Governor, Lt. Governor Reynolds will be in an extremely strong position for any primary opposition she might face, let alone for the 2018 general election.
It should also be noted that the vast majority of the contributions she received in the current campaign finance report came BEFORE the announcement of Governor Branstad’s appointment.
Efforts on Behalf of Community Bankers of Iowa: