Iowa economy grows; panel boosts revenue projections


Iowa economy grows; panel boosts revenue projections


By Roger Thomas
Representative District 55


The state’s budget experts, the Revenue Estimating Conference (REC), held their quarterly meeting and increased their estimate for revenue growth from $6.517 billion to $6.637 billion for the state’s current fiscal year, 2013. Citing Iowa’s growing economy, the new estimate has revenues growing by 5.2 percent, or $325 million more than last year.  

The REC members noted that the state and national economies continue to grow.  The higher revenue estimate for fiscal year 2013 increases the expected ending balance in the state general fund budget to $983 million.  The state reserve funds are full at $622 million, and there is also $60 million in a taxpayers’ trust fund.  In total, the State is expected to have more than $1.6 billion in surplus funds at the end of 2013. 

The REC also increased its estimate for fiscal year 2014 from $6.739 billion to $6.870 billion, which represents an increase of $130.8 million from its previous estimate in December.  The March estimate of 3.5 percent means that fiscal year 2014 revenues will be $233.6 million more than the new estimate for FY 2013.

Expanding access to

 Aaffordable health c

The Iowa Senate passed a bill this week to expand access to affordable health care for an estimated 150,000 Iowans who don’t have health insurance.  In a move to find common ground with the governor, the bill includes an opt-out provision if the federal government does not fulfill its promise on funding.

A coalition of 50 different groups, like Iowa hospitals and the American Cancer Society, are encouraging lawmakers and the governor to expand Medicaid. According to the Iowa Hospital Association, Iowa hospitals provide more than $600 million in uncompensated care, mainly from services provided to individuals who would qualify under the Medicaid expansion. It’s called a “hidden tax” because that uncompensated care is absorbed by Iowans and businesses with private health insurance through higher insurance premiums.

Despite strong public support for the Medicaid expansion, the governor has introduced a separate plan that costs Iowa taxpayers $163 million more, covers fewer people, and provides less accessibility to care.  Details of the plan are still unknown and the federal government has not said if it will approve the governor’s plan.

If you have any questions on these issues or other legislative concerns, you can contact me at or (515) 281-3221.



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