Supporters of Iowa's midyear budget cuts call them 'smart'

Published: Mar. 23, 2018 at 8:06 PM CDT
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Some state lawmakers say they're not happy with new spending cuts, but felt they were necessary.

On Wednesday, the legislature gave final approval to a $35 million midyear reduction to this year's state budget.

The biggest cuts include:

-$11 million from the University of Iowa and Iowa State University

-$10 million from the Iowa Economic Development Authority's High-Quality Jobs Program.

-$4.3 from the Department of Human Services.

The reduction was prompted by a shortfall in expected revenue in the $7.2 billion Iowa budget for the fiscal year ending July first.

Rep. Ashley Hinson, (R-Marion), vice chair of the House Appropriations Committee, said she supported the cut because it was “smart.”

Hinson pointed out lawmakers were cutting $25 million from departments and $10 million from the High-Quality Jobs Program. She said the program hadn't used those dollars yet and would likely get restocked with cash in the coming fiscal year.

Hinson said there had been a lot of “doom and gloom” from the left on the budget cuts and felt people needed to keep a perspective in mind.

"If you're looking at it from the standpoint of having a $50,000 income and maybe not getting $250,” said Hinson. “I think that's the rough math. That's basically the equivalent of what we did on the state level.”

The final approval for the bill was in the Senate-- 28 to 21.

Democrats were opposed to the cuts, some of them worrying about the strain the reductions would cause the justice system or the University of Iowa and Iowa State. The UI's president indicated Thursday a tuition increase was likely to help cover costs.

Lawmakers like state Senator Joe Bolkcom, (D-Iowa City), said during the debate, Wednesday, the budget had been "extraordinarily mismanaged" by the GOP.

“We've fidgeted around and we have less than 100 days to accommodate these cuts,” said Bolkcom. “It's not going to be easy."

The cuts are headed to Gov. Kim Reynolds desk for her signature. Reynolds is expected to sign.