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Fiscal Committee reviews state budget; $1.4 billion state surplus expected

From Rep Sharon Steckman –

State Rep. Sharon Steckman
State Rep. Sharon Steckman

The Legislative Fiscal Committee met at the University of Northern Iowa last week and received an update on the state budget.

While the state won’t officially close the books on fiscal year 2013 until the end of September, the state finished the year with $128 million more in revenues than anticipated, which is projected to raise the ending balance beyond the anticipated $779 million.  The current fiscal year budget (2014) is anticipated to spend $6.475 billion and have an ending balance of $721 million.

We currently have $622.4 million in our reserve funds and we are estimating a $779 million ending balance when the fiscal year 2013 books are closed at the end of this month.  Therefore the total surplus is estimated to be $1.4 billion.

Looking ahead to the 2015 budget, which must be approved during the 2014 legislative session, the Legislature will need to consider $235 million in built-in or anticipated increases in expenditures. Budget experts will set their initial projections for the FY 2015 budget in December.

The committee also heard from representatives from the Department of Corrections and Community-based Corrections regarding successful Drug and Mental Health Courts.  Fiscal Committee members were concerned that programs were discontinued in Waterloo, due to expiring federal funds, but no state funding was put in place to keep the program operating.

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