This week, much of the activity at the Capitol was happening behind the scenes as leaders from both chambers and the Governor’s office continued budget and tax discussions. The House is currently working from the Governor’s tax proposal which is dramatically different than the Senate proposal which passed the full Senate earlier this session. Without determining the size and timing of any proposed tax reform, the 2019 budget targets cannot be determined.
Midyear Budget Cuts
The most significant legislative activity this week culminated with the Governor signing SF 2117 which cut about $25.5 million from the FY 18 (current) budget, largely on the backs of the Regents institutions. Almost $11 million was cut from the University of Iowa and Iowa State University.
In addition to the de-appropriations bill, the Governor also signed into law HF 2343 which has the potential to significantly impact the regulatory process across state government. The law states that an executive branch agency may not implement or enforce any standards or requirement unless the authority to do so is “clearly required or clearly permitted by a state or federal statute, court order, or executive order.”
On the election front, the State Objection Panel comprised of Secretary of State Paul Pate, State Auditor Mary Mosiman, and Attorney General Tom Miller met at the Capitol this week to determine whether a number of candidates for office met the threshold requirement of the number of signatures needed to be on the ballot in November. The panel decided that Ron Corbett did not have the requisite number of signatures and therefore that he would not be listed on the ballot in November. He was the only primary challenger to Governor Reynolds and the decision means that she will run unopposed in the Republican primary. Ron Corbett has indicated that he intends to appeal the decision in court.
We anticipate that the House tax plan and budget targets will be released next week. If budget targets are not released next week, it will be a challenge to adjourn as scheduled on April 17. It is also possible that the Senate and House will have separate, not joint, targets which also has the potential to extend session.
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