In a flurry of budget activity last week, the House moved forward on six major appropriations bills. After voting down over $300 million in budget-busting amendments, these bills now move to the Senate or joint conference committee for further consideration.
The House passed the Fiscal Year 14 Rebuild Iowa Infrastructure Fund (RIIF) appropriations bill. Each year, the RIIF budget spends a portion of the state’s gaming revenue on a variety of infrastructure projects. This year’s RIIF bill includes increases in funding for lake dredging and water quality projects, a new emphasis on performing routine, deferred, and major maintenance of state facilities, and new construction at the three Regents institutions. HF 638 now awaits action in the Senate Appropriations Committee.
Action was also taken on the Agriculture & Natural Resources budget (SF 435) and the Justice Systems budget (SF 447). Within the Agriculture & Natural Resources budget, additional resources were provided to the Department of Agriculture, Department of Natural Resources, and the ISU Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory. The bill also includes $42 million in funding through the Environment First Fund.
The Justice Systems budget made a number of changes in funding levels within the Department of Corrections, reflecting the impending shift of populations as the new facilities in Fort Madison and Mitchellville start to come on-line. Funding for the Department of Public Safety and Public Defense was set at the level proposed by the Governor. Both SF 435 and SF 447 await further action by the Senate.
Two bills that started in the House were sent to conference committee. Amendments by the Senate to the Administration & Regulation budget (HF 603) and the FY 14 Education budget (HF 604) were rejected by the House as each spent significantly more than the House budget targets, which would lead to a budget that is out of balance.
Finally, the House and Senate have reached resolution of the FY 14 Department of Transportation budget, which we expect to be sent to the Governor for his signature.
House Republicans have maintained our commitment to funding an effective and efficient state government. We remain committed to a budget that is honest, balanced and sustainable. We will not pass a budget that spends more than the state collects in revenue, while at the same time we preserve our core commitments to Iowans. I remain hopeful that we can work together with our counterparts in the Senate to pass a budget which reflects the interests Iowa taxpayers.