The 2022 Iowa Legislative Session
Week of March 7, 2022
This Week in the Iowa Legislature
It is true that every legislative session is like no other. This very unique 2022 legislative session has kept everyone guessing as we are anticipating and hoping for early adjournment. Unique to this session are the early budget targets, a decline in the number of bills passed through each chamber, and no late-night debates into the wee hours of the morning. Even this past week was noticeably different just 2 weeks out from the second funnel which typically makes for long committee caucuses and meetings as legislators push to get their priorities safely across the finish line. This wasn’t the case and as of right now we aren’t expecting anything different as we move into next week. Policy committee meetings seem so to be winding down without much fanfare as they turn their attention to budget bill discussions.
The March Revenue Estimating Committee (REC) Confirms Solid Revenues for FY23
The REC met Thursday and signaled a solid tax year for Iowa despite inflation and the war in Ukraine. The March quarterly estimates indicate an increase of 1.3% over the December REC estimates for 2022 for a projected overall increase of 4.3% growth. Looking ahead at FY 24, the REC projects growth will drop to 1.7% as the new tax law will begin to effect revenue generated from state income taxes.
With the economic forecast complete, we expect the House and Senate leaders to begin working on a joint budget target in earnest. As it stands right now, the overall budget targets released for FY 2023 are not that far apart. The Senate matched the Governor’s total budget target at $8.2017 billion. The House has also released their spending plan for the FY 2023 state budget at $8.2738 billion. Because the legislature already passed the tax cut bill and education funding, the path to a timely session adjournment seems feasible.
House Begins Releasing Proposed Budgets
The House has led the way on releasing their proposed budgets. As of Wednesday evening, the House has unveiled their FY 23 budgets for Justice Systems, the Judicial Branch, Transportation, and Agriculture. Each of the proposed budgets increase funding for FY23 but have very few major expenditure increases.
Department increases were significantly limited by the Governor this year, but a few were allowed to add new staff. In contrast to recent sessions, both chambers seem open to funding the requested Full Time Equivalent positions. Although the House and Senate don’t have a joint budget target yet, the budgets released to date show strong support for the Governor’s requests while balancing the needs of administrative agencies.
We have made it to the Second Legislative Funnel! As of Friday (3/18), all bills other than Appropriations and Ways and Means bills (taxes & fees), will need to be passed out of a full committee in both chambers to be considered the rest of the session. This week will likely consist of limited floor debate early in the week and then be filled with the committee work they have left to do although neither chamber moved many bills this past week. The committees are scheduled through Wednesday afternoon in the Senate and Thursday morning in the House. The House has also indicated they expect to have all of their Budget bills introduced by next week as they work toward an early adjournment.
A list of scheduled committees and subcommittees with their virtual access information can be found at the provided link. If you have challenges connecting with the virtual link, you can always call in.