GOP: The Paulsen Perspective: House Republican Budget Targets

April 24, 2015
By

SpeakerKP

This week, the House Republicans released our budget targets – our plan for fiscal year 2016 spending. As I’ve mentioned before, in March the Revenue Estimating Conference (REC) met and determined the state has $7.175 billion available in on-going revenue. This is the number the House Republicans started our budget process with.

Our proposal spends 99.9 percent of that on-going revenue number, which is $7.168 billion. This represents a 2.5 percent (or $173.8) million increase over last year’s budget.

Iowans’ have been abundantly clear – they do not want the government to spend more than is brought in – the legislature must live within our means. While standing by this principle for the four previous legislative sessions, Republicans have found common ground with both the Governor and Senate Democrats. We expect that to continue this year. Living within our means is something the hardworking taxpayers of Iowa do every day. Government needs to do the same.

Our budget plan does not use the ending balance, the Cash Reserve or the Economic Emergency Fund. According the non-partisan Legislative Services Agency, in regards to the ending balance, “It should be noted that these excess funds are considered one-time revenues that can carry-forward from one fiscal year to the next. The transfer amounts can be unpredictable from one year to the next… Reliance on these revenues for ongoing operational expenses of government programs can result in budget shortfalls if an economic downturn causes a drop in annual tax revenue.”

We have been very clear that we will not spend one-time money to fund ongoing expenses. While the plans have not yet been finalized, a conservative amount of these dollars could go to one-time expenses such as paying off debt. In the last four years, we’ve paid off over $100 million worth of debt.

As far as the state’s ‘savings’ accounts — the Cash Reserve is used to cash flow the state budget. Taking money from it jeopardizes timely payments to school districts and local governments. The Economic Emergency Fund is used to respond to catastrophic disasters or emergencies such as the floods of 2008. We will not tap into those funds.

House Republicans laid out each budget target, they are as follows:

 

You can check-out our budget chairman, Rep. Chuck Soderberg discussing our targets here:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O_rf1mBdgwQ

As always, if you have any questions or concerns please feel free to contact me at the office at (515) 281-3521 or by email at kraig.paulsen@legis.iowa.gov

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