The Iowa House today approved cuts to the Regents universities that go beyond what the chamber had proposed earlier this year to address a state revenue shortfall in the fiscal year that ends June 30th. To reach agreement with the Iowa Senate, the House voted to cut Regents funding by nearly $11 million, split between the University of Iowa and Iowa State University. The universities will have to absorb that in the three months left in the fiscal year. Democrats resisted but were unable to stop the cuts from being approved. Chris Hall, D-Sioux City, questioned Pat Grassley, R-Cedar Falls, about why the universities are being cut so deeply.
“Seeing that there’s additional revenue to the state, the house is electing to cut deeper in order to find agreement with the Senate. Why did you single out those two universities?” Hall asked.
“I do agree with the Senate that we need to have a cushion,” Grassley responded.
The University of Northern Iowa is exempt from the cuts.
Beth Wessel-Kroeschell, D-Ames, says it’s too late in the year for Iowa State to make cuts that big.
“We’re now three-fourths of the way through the year and you're doubling it and you're telling us in three months we have to make those cuts,” she said. “This amendment is simply irresponsible.”
In total, the bill cuts $35 million from this year’s budget because tax receipts have not met the expectations the budget was based on. The bill cuts the universities at twice the level Gov. Reynolds recommended. The legislature delayed action on the so-called de-appropriations bill until the latest revenue estimates became available. Senate Republicans originally proposed much larger cuts to the Regents, human services, courts, and corrections.