- Associated Press - Tuesday, September 8, 2015

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A property tax cut approved two years ago is a significant ongoing cost for the state budget, State Auditor Mary Mosiman cautioned Tuesday.

Mosiman provided a review of the state budget plan negotiated by the governor and Legislature for the fiscal year that began July 1. She said a complete analysis of all budget funds shows the state will spend about $8.4 billion this year and that there are enough resources to cover the expenditures and leave a surplus balance.

According to Mosiman’s report, the property tax cut - approved in 2013 - will cost the state $253 million in the current fiscal year. Mosiman noted this commitment will continue over multiple years, a practice she says doesn’t follow sound budgeting principles.

Overall, Mosiman said the state has resources to cover all commitments. And she said the state has done a good job maintaining reserve funds and limiting use of one-time resources for ongoing expenditures. Still, Mosiman noted some concerns, including that some surplus budget dollars carried over from previous years are being spent.

Lawmakers in the Republican controlled Iowa House sought this year to ensure that the state general fund will not spend more than the available revenue. The general fund appropriations are $7.165 billion and the projected revenue is $7.176 billion. The auditor’s analysis is that some surplus money will still be needed when state budgeting rules are fully applied.



House Republicans spokesman Colin Tadlock said they were satisfied that the current budget does not spend more than is coming in and said there was simply a “difference of opinion” over whether surplus dollars were being spent.

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