The Revenue Estimating Conference (REC) projects general fund revenue. The REC is established in Iowa Code 8.22A. This entity provides a way to arrive at a consensus of general fund revenue estimates. These estimates are used by both the governor and Legislature for the budgeting process.
There is a member of the REC that is the governor or the governor's designee, the director of the nonpartisan Legislative Services Agency, and a third person, as agreed by the other two members.
This week, the REC held its October meeting to review the status of Iowa's economy and to revise budget projections for fiscal year 2019 and fiscal year 2020.
For the current fiscal year, the REC raised the General Fund forecast to $7.7421 billion. This is $101.7 million more than the March projection, after it was adjusted for the Tax Reform Law. The FY 2019 budget, passed in May, spends $7.4802 billion. Today's forecast means the FY 2019 General Fund budget spends $261.9 million less than the current REC estimate for the year.
This is a positive change from the last two October REC meetings, when the revenue forecast was lowered to levels below the General Fund budgeted figures.
For the next budget year, the REC estimates that General Fund revenue will come in at $7.8729 billion. This would be $130.8 million higher than the current FY 2019 forecast, or a revenue increase of 1.7 percent. This figure is preliminary, as the next meeting of the REC will set the official estimate that is required to be used in the budgeting process.
It is important to keep a consistent review of the budget's forecast so we can ensure stability of Iowa's economy.