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Branstad revises Iowa spending increases downward

DES MOINES — Gov. Terry Branstad submitted budget revisions Tuesday lowering spending in the coming fiscal year $173.3 million from his previous state fiscal plan.

The governor, who had until Wednesday to submit his revisions, also lowered the budget for fiscal 2019 $103.3 million from his earlier recommendations, according to documents released.

Overall, the governor’s revised budget calls for a $23.9 million spending increase in fiscal 2018 with a $236.5 million increase over that in fiscal 2019. The current budget calls for spending $7.25 billion. That would increase to $7.28 billion in fiscal 2018 and to $7.5 billion the following year.

The budget revisions are based on the Revenue Estimating Conference lowering the general fund revenue estimate for the current year by $131.1 million. To correct that imbalance, the governor recommended a transfer of $131.1 million from the cash reserve — $104 million in fiscal 2018 beginning July 1 and $26 million the following year.

“It’s not an easy situation,” Branstad said Monday when asked about what revisions he was considering.

Using $131 million from the cash reserve in the short term means the fiscal 2018 budget “is going to be a very difficult, tight budget.”

“If you recall, we had a significant balance at the end of fiscal year 2019, and so we think that ’18 is going to be difficult, but ’19 is going to be, I think, a lot better,” he said.

He also called for maintaining his recommendations on water quality funding, funding an Iowa State Patrol academy to increase the number of troopers and not closing any institutions operated by the departments of Corrections and Human Services.

In fiscal 2018, Branstad’s revisions reduce spending for administration and regulation by $19.4 million, $1.1 million for ag and natural resources, $666,504 in economic development, $58.4 million in education, $86.2 million for health and human services, $7.7 million for the Judicial Branch and $4.6 million for the legislative branch.

Justice systems, which include prisons, would get a $4.9 million increase.

The revisions would cost the state Board of Regents $8.6 million in fiscal 2018. Although several line items show increases, the University of Iowa would get $5.3 million less, Iowa State University would get cut $5.9 million and the University of Northern Iowa $911,571.

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Statehouse reporter for The Courier

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