Norlin Mommsen

Norlin Mommsen

Last Wednesday, the House Health and Human Services budget subcommittee released its spending plan for Fiscal Year 2022. With its release, all the major budget bills have been made public by both the House and Senate. This, combined with the agreement reached on the Administration and Regulation budget bill, means the budget has now moved center stage at the Capitol.

The breakthrough on the Administration and Regulation budget was the decision by the Senate to match the House’s proposal to provide $100 million to implement the recently-passed Broadband bill (HF 848). That commitment to a $95 million increase in state grants to expand broadband access was the catalyst to settling the first budget bill.

Here are where a few of the other budget bills are currently at in the legislative process.

• In the Agriculture and Natural Resources budget, the House is proposing to increase funding for the Renewable Fuels Infrastructure Fund from $3 million to $11 million and have it paid for out of the General Fund. The Senate maintains funding at the current $3 million level through RIIF.

• In Economic Development, the House has provided an additional $1.75 million in 260F job training funds to help those who lost their jobs during the pandemic acquire new work skills. It also provides $750,000 for implementation of the Butchery bill (HF 847), expanding services and access to small and mid-sized meat processing services. The Senate does not include either proposal.

• Within the Education budget bill, the Senate is providing the Board of Regents with an $8 million increase. The House provides status quo funding to the Regents and freezes student tuition and fees at their current levels. The Senate only provides a $5 million increase to the Last Dollar Scholars program, a perennial favorite of the Governor. The House bill funds this at the Governor’s requested level, a $10 million increase.

• In the Justice Systems budget, the House backed up its promises to provide additional dollars for law enforcement and corrections services. The House bill gives the Department of Corrections an increase of $20.5 million, while the Senate is proposing only a $5.9 million raise in spending. For the Department of Public Safety, the House is proposing a $9.5 million increase. The Senate is countering with just a $4.4 million rise. And the House provides $5 million ($2.5 million from Justice Systems and $2.5 million) for a Public Safety Equipment Fund. The Senate does not include any funding for this.

If you have any questions about these or any other bills in the legislative process, please contact me at Norlin.Mommsen@legis.iowa.gov.

Norlin Mommsen, R-DeWitt, represents District 97 in the Iowa House of Representatives.

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