House and Senate Reach Agreement on Budget Targets
On Wednesday, the House Majority and Senate Majority reached an agreement on the funding levels for the FY 2017 budget. The Legislature is limited to spending $7.351 billion out of the General Fund under the state‘s expenditure limitation law. The budget levels include the additional funding already authorized by the FY 2017 Supplemental School Aid bills, which increased school funding by 2.25 percent.
In addition to the budget targets, the House and Senate agreed to place certain standing appropriations under the control over the budget subcommittees. Many of these on-going appropriations had not been reviewed for years until a separate subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee examined the programs in January and February. The funding for the programs had been accounted for under the Standings Appropriations bills. Now, the programs and funding will be turned over to the appropriate budget subcommittee and accounted for in FY 2017 budget. Beginning with the next General Assembly, the budget subcommittees will be conducting oversight and review of the programs.
Iowa Water Quality Improvement Plan
Currently, Iowa dedicates over $20 million annually towards improving the state’s water quality through the Nutrient Reduction Strategy. This is a significant investment, but we as a state need to do more to advance these efforts.
The Iowa Water Quality Improvement Plan will continue implementation of the Nutrient Reduction Strategy while significantly increasing the state’s investment in a manner that addresses both urban and rural water quality issues.
The Iowa Water Quality Improvement Plan has dedicated, sustainable long-term funding sources from both the Rebuild Iowa Infrastructure Fund (RIIF) and the excise tax on metered water.
The funding from the water services excise tax would be dedicated to urban conservation practices, improvements to wastewater and drinking water facilities in communities, and a financing program for water quality projects.
Funding for rural efforts will come from the Rebuild Iowa Infrastructure Fund, focusing on long-term improvements that will reduce the runoff of nitrates and phosphorus into Iowa waterways and reduce soil erosion.
These improvements will involve in-field and edge of field practices. They will be funded on a cost-share basis.
Register Your Boat Today
2016 is a boat registration year. Boat registrations must be renewed every three years. There are about 235,000 boats in Iowa that need to be registered before April 30. Boat owners have to register their boats with the DNR. Make sure to carry the registration certificate on the boat. Residents can obtain registrations and renewals from a County Recorder Office.
Registration is not required for the following:
- Inflatable vessels 7 feet in length or less
- Canoes and kayaks that are 13 feet or less and have no motor or sail
- Vessels registered in another state
Big news of the week was the agreement of budget targets. Over the past couple of weeks this has been a stumbling block on the road to adjournment. Now that the House and Senate have set the targets, budget bills should be moving out of committee and to the floor for debate sometime next week. If that happens, we should be on the path to end the session on time or soon after the official end of the session, April 19th.
As always, please feel free to contact me by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 319-480-1997 if you have concerns about any issue.