Iowa state budget (2009-2010)

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The state ended FY 2010 with a nearly $336 million surplus and one of the largest balances in state history.[1] The surplus was in addition to $419 million in various “rainy day” or emergency accounts.[1] Gov. Culver said that those figures showed that the budget was balanced, but Senate Republican Leader Paul McKinley challenged that assessment, noting that the governor failed to mention the one-time money spent for ongoing expenses and funding shifts.[2]

The Iowa General Assembly passed a reduced budget for FY 2010 of $5.77 billion compared to $5.9 billion for FY 2009.[3] Gov. Chet Culver announced on October 8, 2009 that he was implementing a 10% across-the-board cut in state government spending. Revenue estimates projected declines in state revenue of 8.4%, or $414.9 million, compared to the prior year.[4] The preliminary plans included a proposed reduction of 1,321 state government positions, including 791 layoffs and the elimination 529 vacant positions.[5] The 10% cut represents a reduction of $564.4 million.[6]

Reduced revenue projections in April 2009 led Gov. Culver to revise and cut 7.9% from his FY 2010 budget recommendation to the legislature during its session.[7] The Iowa General Assembly would again convene January 11, 2010.[8]

Budget background

See also: Iowa state budget and finances

In Iowa state agencies prepare and submit requests by October 1 for the following fiscal year. On December 15 the Revenue Estimating Conference, comprised of the governor, the director of the legislative services agency, and a third member agreed to by the other two, meet to estimate the revenue for the upcoming fiscal year. The governor then reviews the budget requests by state agencies, conducts public hearings and submits recommendations to the General Assembly in January. From January through February the legislature hosts a variety of joint meetings. Once the budget bill is approved the bill is submitted to the governor, who has line-item veto authority in appropriations bills.[9]
Iowa's fiscal year begins July 1 and ends June 30.

Section 8.31, Code of Iowa, states that if the governor determines that the estimated budget resources during the fiscal year are insufficient to pay all appropriations in full, the reductions shall be uniform and prorated between all departments, agencies, and establishments upon the basis of their respective appropriations. Gov. Culver ordered a 1.5% reduction of $89.1 million for FY 2009. The FY 2009 budget was reduced in total cuts from $6.13 billion to $5.95 billion. The latest round of cuts for the fiscal year reduced the FY 2010 general fund budget to $5.18 billion, $5.77 billion with federal funds.[10]

Budget figures

The following table provides a history of Iowa's general fund ending balances for the past decade:[1]

Fiscal year Balance
2001 $0.0 million
2002 $89.0 million
2003 $-45.3 million
2004 $166.0 million
2005 $166.2 million
2006 $361.9 million
2007 $261.6 million
2008 $196.4 million
2009 $0.0 million
2010 $335.6 million

The following table provides a history of Iowa's expenditures and gross domestic product (GDP).

Fiscal year Expenditures (billions) GDP (billions)
2000 $17.2[11] $90.2[11]
2001 $18.2[11] $91.9[11]
2002 $19.3[11] $97.4[11]
2003 $19.9[11] $102.2[11]
2004 $20.6[11] $111.9[11]
2005 $21.4[11] $115.6[11]
2006 $23.0[11] $121.9[11]
2007 $24.7[11] $129.0[11]
2008 $26.4[11] $136.5[11]
2009 $28.4*[11] $144.4*[11]
  • NOTE: The figures for FY 2009 had not been finalized at the time this data was compiled.

2009-2010 budget crisis

On October 8, 2009 the governor announced that he was implementing a 10% across-the-board cut in state government spending. Revenue estimates projected declines in state revenue of 8.4%, or $414.9 million, compared to the previous year.[4] The preliminary plans included a proposed reduction of 1,321 state government positions, including 791 layoffs and the elimination 529 vacant positions.[5]

In February 2010 a package for early retirement incentives for state workers was given final approval by the Senate and the House. The plan was estimated to save the state $60 million a year and reduce the budget shortfall.[12][13] Additionally, lawmakers were considering a plan to "streamline state government." According to officials, the reform could save the state $300 million in the first year of the five-year effort.[14]

Accounting principles

See also: Iowa government accounting principles

As of 2009, the Iowa State Auditor was David A. Vaudt. The Auditor of State is a constitutional official, elected every four years. The Auditor is required annually to make a complete audit of the books, records and accounts of every department of state government. Iowa’s audit reports are published online.[15]

The Iowa Department of Administrative Services (DAS) was created on July 1, 2003. Ray Walton became Chief Operating Officer of the Department of Administrative Services in 2007. DAS Core consists of:[16]

  • Finance and Operations
  • Legal Counsel
  • Legislative Liaison
  • Marketing and Communications

Budget transparency

See also: Evaluation of Iowa state website and Iowa Open Records Law

Gov. Branstad signed into law a bill that would create a searchable, online state budget database.[17]

Economic stimulus transparency

  • Iowa would receive approximately $209 million from the federal government under H.R. 1586, a $26 billion plan to give states money for Medicaid and education that the President signed into law on August 10, 2010.[18] Approximately $128 million of the money was intended for the state’s Medicaid program.[19]
  • It was estimated that Iowa would receive at least $1.5 billion in federal stimulus funding.[20]

Error in ARRP

According to, stimulus funds were going to 884 congressional districts, though there are only 435.[21][22]

More than $10.5 million in stimulus funds were distributed to eight congressional districts in Iowa that do not exist, according to the ARRP website.[23]

Government tools

The following table is helpful in evaluating the level of transparency provided by a state spending and transparency database:

Criteria for evaluating spending databases
State database Searchability Grants Contracts Line item expenditures Dept./agency budgets Public employee salary
None n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a

Support for creation of the database

Although State Representative Jamie Van Fossen supported transparency legislation, House File 2439 failed to pass, according to the Public Interest Institute's October edition of the "Iowa Transparency Newsletter."

Public employee salary information

See also: Iowa state government salary

See also

External links

Additional links


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 The Des Moines Register "Culver cheers: Iowa’s budget posts one of largest ending balances in history" Sept. 30, 2010
  2. The Sioux City Journal "Iowa budget surplus parks campaign sparring" Oct. 1, 2010
  3. Iowa Graybook, “FY 2010 Appropriations Tracking,” July 14, 2009
  4. 4.0 4.1 Gov. Culver Press Release , “Governor Culver’s Statement on Balancing the State Budget,” October 8, 2009
  5. 5.0 5.1 Gov. Culver Press Release , “Preliminary Departmental Plans Released on State Budget Cuts,” October 21, 2009
  6. Iowa Legislative Services Agency, “Across-the-Board Reductions,” October 2009 (timed out)
  7. Gov. Culver Press Release , “Governor Culver: During Tough Times, We Must Be Fiscally Responsible,” April 3, 2009 (dead link)
  8. Iowa General Assembly Web site, accessed October 22, 2009
  9. State of Iowa, "Iowa state budget process," January 1,2006
  10. Iowa Legislative Services Agency, “Across-the-Board Reductions,” October 2009 (timed out)
  11. 11.00 11.01 11.02 11.03 11.04 11.05 11.06 11.07 11.08 11.09 11.10 11.11 11.12 11.13 11.14 11.15 11.16 11.17 11.18 11.19 US Government Spending, "Iowa State and Local spending," accessed February 27,2009
  12. Business Week, "Iowa Senate gives final OK to retirement plan," February 4, 2010 (dead link)
  13. Omaha World-Herald, "Iowa budget could be reframed," January 25, 2010 (dead link)
  14. Associated Press, "Culver: Effort would save $200 million or more," January 25, 2010
  15. Iowa State Auditor Web site, accessed October 22, 2009
  16. Iowa Department of Administrative Services Web site, accessed October 22, 2009
  17. Chicago Tribune, Branstad signs budget web site into law, March 7, 2011
  18. Federal Fund Information for States “ARRA FMAP Extension & Education Jobs Fund Totals” Aug. 11, 2010
  19. "Gov. Culver: Hails House approval of aid to Medicaid, teachers" Aug. 11, 2010
  20. Wall Street Journal, "Stimulus Spending by State"
  21. $6.4 Billion Stimulus goes to Phantom Districts,, November 17, 2009
  22. Stimulus Creates Jobs in Non-Existent Congressional Districts,, November 16, 2009
  23., November 17, 2009