The Iowa House approved its last two budget bills this Thursday, but a final agreement and the end of session is still a ways off. The House amended and passed Senate File 2323 to approve more than $1 billion for primary, secondary, and post-secondary education along with Senate File 2023 to allocate $378 million for the the Iowa Department of Transportation Thursday evening.
Key components of the education budget bill include a $3 million increase in funds for Iowa’s community colleges after receiving no increase in 2015, and a $6.3 million increase for Iowa’s Regent Universities. The bill allocates a 0.6 percent increase for the University of Iowa, 1.2 percent increase for Iowa State University, and a 2.9 percent increase for the University of Northern Iowa.
Rep. Tom Moore (R-Griswold)
The bill also gives a $213,958 increase for the Iowa School of the Deaf and an $89,205 increase for the Iowa Braille and Sight Saving School. In his weekly newsletter, Representative Tom Moore, a Republican from Griswold, said “With only $4.9 million in new money for education, it is no secret this is a tight budget year. As Vice Chair of the Education Budget Subcommittee, I believe the House did a commendable job of funding top priorities and I was proud to support it.”
The $378 million approved for transportation is made up of $2.3 million from the State Aviation Fund, $50.4 million from the Road Use Tax Fund, and $325.3 million from the Primary Road Fund. The main point of contention in this bill was over appropriations for the “highways” section of the transportation budget. The Senate bill approves an increase of roughly $10.4 million — more than a four percent increase — while the House bill approves a $1.9 million increase in highways.
Moore says “With our current budget only allowing for a 2.25 percent increase in Supplemental State Aid for K-12 education and many other priorities facing cuts this year, it seems unfair and illogical to approve such a large increase for part of the transportation budget.” The education and transportation budget bills will go back to the Senate for approval. It is likely both bills will end up in conference committees, along with several of the other budget bills the House passed this week.
Until both chambers come to a finalized agreement on all facets of the state’s FY 2017 budget, the 2016 session still continues.