State lawmakers are preparing for state agency budget cuts. On Friday, Gov. Kim Reynolds’ Revenue Estimating Conference has revised its estimate of tax receipts this year.
Latest revenue projects have a little bit of good news. The Revenue Estimating Conference meets periodically to estimate how much money in taxes will be collected. This time, members revised their estimate up compared to their estimate in December. “They have a little more money to spend this year,” Russell reports.
Budget cuts still loom. There’s still a package of cuts out there for the Regents’ universities, human services, courts and corrections. Lawmakers have been waiting to for this estimate to pull the trigger. “It’s possible some of those cuts could be trimmed back some,” Russell says. The top House Republican budget-writer, Rep. Pat Grassley, says he now knows what cuts are really necessary this year.
Tax legislation is still a long way from being reconciled. The governor’s tax cut plan doesn’t kick in unless revenues reach a certain amount and it’s sensitive to whether the state can afford tax cuts. “The Senate plan, not so much,” Russell says.
Democrats are delaying the confirmation of Iowa’s Department of Human Services Director. There’s plenty of unhappiness among Senate Democrats about what’s going on at DHS. “Probably the biggest complaint among Senate Democrats is about ongoing problems with privatizing Medicaid,” Russell reports. Democrats point to budget cuts and diminished staff at DHS as a contributing factor. Director Jerry Foxhoven went before a budget committee and said his agency could absorb more cuts this year without a problem.
Follow Joyce on Twitter @russell_ipr.