Building a Budget

This week, Senate Republicans released their budget targets for FY 2020. The proposed budget of $7.619 billion is the same as FY 2019 and is $48 million less than the House and $39 million less than the Governor.

Senate Majority Leader Jack Whitver told the Cedar Rapids Gazette that because nearly $250 million in one-time expenses came off the books, they were able to construct a budget plan that would boost spending for public education by $128.6 million, healthcare by $106 million, and public safety by $14.5 million, with plans for nearly $39 million in tax relief — most of which would come from eliminating the inheritance tax.

The House Republican budget plan would spend $7.668 billion, a 0.63 percent increase over FY 2019.  Rep. Pat Grassley said, “This is a conservative, responsible budget plan that funds our priorities, limits spending, and puts taxpayers first. We have listened to Iowans, and this approach allows us to invest in key priorities that they support like education, career training, healthcare, and public safety.”

Governor Kim Reynolds proposed a $7.658 billion budget, a 0.5 percent increase over last year. Her plan prioritizes spending for schools, mental health, and the workforce development program.

Next week, the three-member state Revenue Estimating Conference will release an updated estimate of state tax receipts. The legislature is required to use the lower of either the December or March estimates when crafting the 2020 budget. Each of the three plans released would spend less than the 99 percent ceiling set by Iowa law.

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