On March 14, the Revenue Estimating Conference (REC) met to establish their revenue projections for FY 2017. Their projections provided a troubling budget forecast: the previous estimates were inaccurate by almost $131 million. Not an insignificant amount by any measure.
The previous REC had predicted revenue growth. And grow it did – by just slightly under $185 million. Although, again, this was not as large as the original estimates for FY 2017. Essentially, the revenue in the state of Iowa is growing, but not by as much as expected by past panels.
We built budgets off of these projections. This is a serious fiscal matter. It means more adjustments to our budget for the next fiscal year and the ones following it. Due to this discrepancy, the panel also lowered the revenue projections for FY 2018 and FY 2019.
Rep. Grassley, Chair of the House Appropriations Committee, stated: "There is no time to waste. While a reduction in state revenue this far into the fiscal year is challenging, sound budgeting principles will allow House Republicans to craft a plan that keeps the budget balanced and Iowa moving forward."
I agree with him. We will make up for this shortfall. Our state government will live within its means. It will be challenging. But using sound budgetary principles will get us back on track. We have a duty to Iowans to be fiscally responsible with their money.