Governor Branstad released his revised Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 budget proposal on Tuesday to reflect the Revenue Estimating Conference’s (REC) adjusted revenue projections. His plan uses $131.1 million from the Cash Reserve Fund to cover the FY 2017 revenue shortfall which he plans to repay by using the FY 2018 ending balance and appropriating $26.3 million in FY 2019.
House Republicans are taking a look at the governor’s proposal and expect to release our own budget targets very soon to begin the process of approving the FY 2018 budget. House Republicans will pay back any money used from the Cash Reserve Fund in the FY 2018 and FY 2019 budgets. We should be mindful that actual revenue has consistently been lower than REC projections for the past several years and our budget plans should anticipate this trend. While overall, long term projections continue to trend upward, we can’t be too optimistic about potential growth.
With about $6 million worth of new available revenue in next year’s budget, and K-12 schools already receiving an additional $40 million, most other areas of government will likely see reductions. We’ll work hard to find savings and efficiencies while preserving key functions of government. When all is said and done, we will continue to live within the state’s means.
House Republicans also focused efforts this week on moving bills through committee ahead of the second legislative funnel deadline, and spent some time on the House floor debating several bills that serve and protect Iowans in a variety of ways.
House File 263 protects victims of domestic abuse by ensuring that habitual abusers serve a minimum amount of time in prison. This legislation prohibits a person who has been convicted at least three times of domestic abuse to be released on parole or work release before serving a minimum of one-fifth of their sentence. This minimum sentence gives survivors of abuse more time to remove themselves from a dangerous situation.
House Republicans also took a strong stand to protect private property rights by passing House File 603 this week. This bill restricts the ability of above ground merchant lines to use eminent domain and limits the use of eminent domain to public use, purpose, or improvement. Iowans can depend on House Republicans to rein in eminent domain abuse and protect their rights as property owners from being forced into condemnation proceedings.