State Senator Julian Garrett

State Senator Julian Garrett

The Iowa Legislature will reconvene on Wednesday, June 3. The biggest job will be passing a budget for the coming fiscal year that begins July 1. I believe that the Revenue Estimating Conference will meet before we reconvene. The REC meets periodically and makes estimates of incoming revenue. We use the estimates in putting together our budgets. We all recognize that it will be much more difficult than usual to estimate state revenue for fiscal 2021. Because of the uncertainty, I have recommended that we exercise caution in passing our new budget. I believe the current year’s budget should be a ceiling for next year. Even though we may end the current year with a surplus because of our responsible budgeting last year, we do not want to have a situation where we must make cuts next year because we do not have the money to cover our appropriations. Since we already passed a bill for K-12 funding early in the session that included an increase, even to create a status quo budget will require cuts in other areas of the budget. Another big part of the budget is the state’s share of Medicaid payments. Compared with other areas of the budget, we have less discretion over the amounts spent for Medicaid. Though passing our budget is going to be very difficult under the present circumstances, it is much easier to add supplemental amounts to the budget next year if our numbers allow it, and we believe it is justified, that to make cuts if we over appropriate. I am currently working on the Justice Systems part of the budget. As you know I am the Senate chair for the section of the budget dealing with the prisons, courts and a number of other agencies dealing with public safety and justice. This part of the budget deals with about 10 percent of the total general fund.

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