Reynolds Says No Special Session Needed; Lawmakers Have Questions on State Budget Crisis
Des Moines, Iowa – After Governor Kim Reynolds announced on Wednesday that no special session would be needed to fix the state’s budget crisis, State Representative Sharon Steckman of Mason City said many questions need to be answered before lawmakers return to Des Moines in January.
“For the third time this year, Governor Reynolds and Republican lawmakers are borrowing money and forcing Iowans to pay for the state’s budget mess,” said Steckman. “As lawmakers, our job is to ask tough questions and hold Governor Reynolds accountable in this budget crisis. I believe it’s time to work together again to restore fiscal discipline and balance the state budget.”
According to Reynolds, the expected shortfall for Iowa’s FY 2017 budget is $14.6 million. Gov. Reynolds will combine $13 million from the state’s economic emergency fund with the $1.6 million ending balance. This is the final action on the FY 2017 budget, which ended June 30, 2017. According to the non-partisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau, the state was facing a shortfall of $104 million when the fiscal year ended on June 30.
“There are many questions that must be answered about the state’s budget crisis before the Legislature convenes in January . It’s important that we make sure the state budget is balanced responsibly without shell games to guarantee that Iowans will not be forced to pay for the budget mess next year,” added Steckman.
Over the last few years, Republican lawmakers and Reynolds turned a $927 million state surplus into a deficit that topped $250 million this year. The state budget deficit is largely the result of new corporate tax giveaways that have increased exponentially and now top $500 million annually.
Some of the questions lawmakers have for Gov. Reynolds include:
- When the 2017 Fiscal Year ended on June 30, the non-partisan Legislative Services Agency (LSA) said the budget was short $104.4 million. How was that number reduced to borrowing just $13 million to close the state’s books?
- Since thousands of Iowans had their refunds delayed this year because the state didn’t have money to pay them, how many refunds for tax year 2016 still need to be paid?
- The Legislature appropriated $1.587 billion for Medicaid in FY17 and the MCO’s are losing millions of dollars. What is the final dollar amount spent on Medicaid in FY17? Have all payments for FY 17 services been paid to the MCO’s? If not, how many payments have been delayed and must be paid out of the FY18 budget?
- What invoices from FY17 have not been paid to date? What is the total amount of the FY 17 invoices that will have to be paid in the FY18 budget?