DES MOINES, Iowa – Iowa Senate Majority Leader Jack Whitver, R-Ankeny, announced Iowa Senate Republicans’ budget targets for Fiscal Year 2022 on Wednesday. Their target for total spending in 2022 is $7.999 Billion, which is a $195 million increase from Fiscal Year 2021.
The amount, Whitver says, represents 94 percent of the state’s existing revenue. He said their budget targets account for eliminating the 2018 budget triggers allowing for the lowering and simplification of Iowa’s income tax rates starting on January 1, 2023, phasing out Iowa’s inheritance tax and property tax relief.
The Iowa Senate unanimously passed a bill, SF 576, last week that eliminated the triggers and would phase out the inheritance tax. An Iowa Senate subcommittee advanced SSB 1253 on Thursday morning to create a mental health and disability services regional supplement fund and eliminate counties’ authority to certify a property tax levy to pay for those services.
“As I say frequently, as long as I am leader and Republicans are in the majority in the Senate, we will work toward tax relief for working families,” Whitver said during a press call.
“This budget keeps the promises made by our members, to Iowans to reduce taxes on Iowa families, small businesses and farmers by accounting for the removal of the triggers phasing out of the inheritance tax and over $100 million of property tax relief. Iowans can remain confident the promises made by Senate Republicans will be kept in this budget,” he added.
Whitver said the property tax bill was one of the most significant bills Senate Republicans could offer. He said getting the property tax levy off of property taxpayers will provide much relief and believes mental health funding from the state is more sustainable. He noted the bill includes automatic growth to meet the needs of mental health patients in the future.
The Iowa Senate Republican budget target includes funding increases over $80 million for education, including a $55.3 million increase in K-12 education. They also targeted a health care funding increase of $98.1 million, including $15 million for provider increases for nursing homes and home and community-based service providers and $60 million for mental health services. Senate Republicans also targeted a $13 million increase for public safety, including a $5 million increase for the Iowa Department of Public Safety and a $4 million increase for the Iowa Department of Corrections.
The budget target does not reflect a broadband expansion. Whitver said Senate Republicans wanted to keep ongoing spending separate from one-time expenses. He said their budget target does not mean there will not be money available for broadband.
“We just wanted to keep broadband as a separate conversation that we’ll continue to work with the house and work with the governor to make a significant investment in broadband. And so this budget target should in no way reflect that we’re not going to make a significant investment into broadband. It’s just easier for us to layout an apples-to-apples budget and keep the conversation – ongoing revenue versus a one-time investment in broadband,” he said.
Reynolds called for a $450 million investment from the state with an annual investment of $150 million over three years.
Whitver said that the increase in their budget target for the Iowa Department of Correction was pre-planned and had nothing to do with the inmate assault on Tuesday at the Anamosa State Penitentiary that left a nurse and corrections officer dead.
“Our thoughts and prayers certainly go out to them and their families, and the amount of $4 million for correctional officers was an amount that we had planned to increase anyway. We are certainly going to work with Director Skinner to make sure that the funding needs are met for our correctional officers. And so that was an amount that was that was already included. But we are certainly going to work with Director Skinner to see if there are additional needs that need to be met,” he said.
“For four years Republicans have been managing the state budget in the same way Iowans manage the family budget,” State Senator Tim Kraayenbrink, R-Ft. Dodge, the Senate Appropriations Committee Chair, said in a released statement. “This budget provides reliable, sustainable increases in K-12 education, funds significant increases to public safety, including a $4 million increase for correctional officers, and a $60 million increase in mental health funding.”
Last week, the Revenue Estimating Conference met and projected the state’s net revenue to be $8.358 billion, a 3.8 percent increase from what they projected in December.
Listen to the press conference below: