FY 2017 Deappropriations Bill
The state is facing a $117 million shortfall in revenues that is needed to meet the spending levels approved by the 2016 Legislature. To fix this problem, the 2017 Legislature needs to reduce spending levels so that they do not exceed revenue. The state cannot spend money it does not have. The FY17 Deappropriations bill conforms to these strong budgeting principles.
When the Legislature adjourned in April, total spending was less than expected revenue. Since then the revenue estimate was lowered creating the need to reduce costs in order to prevent a tax increase and maintain a balanced budget. FY 2017 is the fourth consecutive year where actual revenue to the state will not meet the official forecast from the Revenue Estimating Conference. We may need to look for ways to improve the accuracy of the REC’s revenue projections in the future.
Within the bill, state agencies have flexibility to implement the cuts in the best way possible for their agency. This will help agencies to avoid program disruptions that impact the public. While the bill includes reduction to state universities, the reductions in the bill are less than the amount in the Governor’s proposal. The president of the Board of Regents, Bruce Rastetter, has told the media that this reduction will not result in a tuition increase. We have been working towards this agreement since the beginning of the session. Through this thoughtful approach, we’ve prevented any cuts to K-12 education and we were able to protect key priorities like public safety and community colleges from drastic cuts. Overall I believe this bill represents smart decisions made in tough times to keep our state moving forward in a sound fiscal manner.
News from District 96
As Chair of the House Agriculture Committee this week was very busy. I enjoyed attending both the Iowa Soybean Association and the Iowa Pork Producers Legislative Receptions. I was able to visit with both Bob Ballou and Kevin Glanz to discuss issues that are important to soybean producers. I appreciated their insight on challenges facing the industry. I would like to congratulate Alan Wulfekuhle as he finishes his term as President of the Iowa Pork Producers. He did a great job for his association and pork producers.
The Iowa Pork Congress was recognized this week in a resolution. The Pork Congress takes place annually in Des Moines. It is a gathering of producers who contribute 36.7 billion dollars to Iowa’s economy and 141,000 jobs. Pork Producers play a large part in Iowa’s Ag Economy.
This week the Governor signed a proclamation declaring February 19th-February 25th, 2017 as Grain Bin Safety Week. I had a chance to participate in a grain bin rescue exercise at the Farm Progress Show. It was an eye-opening experience and I hope that this proclamation reminds Iowa’s farmers to be cautious near their storage sites.