Thursday afternoon the Iowa Senate adopted Senate Joint Resolution 9 on a bipartisan 38 to 10 vote. The resolution, sponsored by State Senator Charles Schneider (R-West Des Moines) and co-sponsored by the entire Senate Republican caucus, is a constitutional amendment that would add a state general fund expenditure limitation to the Iowa Constitution.

Watch Schneider give closing comments to end debate on the Senate floor over the amendment:

The state spending limitation, should this pass, for a state fiscal year (July 1 – June 30) would be the lesser amount of these two figures:

  1. 99 percent of the adjusted revenue estimate for the following fiscal year for the general fund.
  2. 104 percent of the current fiscal year net revenue estimate for the general fund.

The Governor would be required to use the limitation in the preparation and approval of the budget. The Legislature would be required to use that amount in the budgeting process as well. The resolution language also provides for what happens to that limitation when a new tax is proposed or a tax is cut.

  • If a new revenue source is proposed, the budget revenue projection used for that new revenue source for the period beginning on the effective date of the new revenue source and ending in the fiscal year in which that source is included in the adjusted revenue estimate or the net revenue estimate, as applicable, shall be ninety-five percent of the amount remaining after subtracting estimated refunds payable from the projected revenue from that source.
  • If a revenue decrease is proposed, the projection for the revenue source used for that revenue decrease for the period  beginning on the effective date of the revenue decrease and ending in the fiscal year in which that decrease is included in the adjusted revenue estimate or the net revenue estimate, as applicable, shall be one hundred percent of the amount of the projected revenue decrease from that source.

The state general fund expenditure limitation calculation shall not include federal funds, donations, constitutionally dedicated money and money from the state retirement system.

In order for the Constitutional Amendment to pass, the House will need to approve this resolution during the current General Assembly. The resolution in the same form will then need to pass the Senate and House during the next General Assembly. The Secretary of State will then publicize the language of the amendment for three months and then Iowans can vote to ratify the amendment or not.

“I am excited the Iowa Senate passed Senate Joint Resolution 9 – a proposed Constitutional Amendment which would ensure responsible budgeting in the state of Iowa for years to come,” State Senator Jack Whitver (R-Ankeny), President of the Iowa Senate, said in a released statement.

“Today was an important first step toward long-term fiscal responsibility. SJR 9 caps the growth of spending. It also bars the Legislature from skirting the 99 percent limit currently in Iowa law and eliminates the surplus from being calculated in the expenditure limit,” he added.

Voting against the amendment were State Senators Joe Bolkcom (D-Iowa City), William Dotzler (D-Waterloo), Robert Dvorsky (D-Coralville), Wally E. Horn (D-Cedar Rapids),  Robert Hogg (D-Cedar Rapids), Pam Jochum (D-Dubuque), Matt McCoy (D-Des Moines), Janet Petersen (D-Des Moines), Herman Quirmbach (D-Ames), and Rich Taylor (D-Mt. Pleasant).

Voting for the amendment were State Senators State Senators Chaz Allen (D-Newton), Bill Anderson (R-Pierson), Jerry Behn (R-Boone) Tony Bisignano (D-Des Moines), Nate Boulton (D-Des Moines), Tod Bowman (D-Makoqueta), Michael Breitbach (R-Strawberry Point), Waylon Brown (R-St. Ansgar), Jake Chapman (R-Adel), Mark Chelgren (R-Ottumwa), Mark Costello (R-Imogene), Jeff Danielson (D-Cedar Falls), Dan Dawson (R-Council Bluffs), Bill Dix (R-Shell Rock), Jeff Elder (R-State Center), Randy Feenstra (R-Hull), Julian Garrett (R-Indianola), Thomas Greene (R-Burlington), Dennis Guth (R-Klemme), Rita Hart (D-Wheatland), Craig Johnson (R-Independence), David Johnson (I-Oychedan), Tim Kapucian (R-Keystone), Kevin Kinney (D-Oxford), Tim Kraayenbrink (R-Ft. Dodge), Mark Lofgren (R-Muscatine), Jim Lykam (D-Davenport), Liz Mathis (D-Cedar Rapids), Amanda Ragan (D-Mason City), Ken Rozenboom (R-Oskaloosa), Charles Schneider (R-West Des Moines), Jason Schultz (R-Schleswig), Mark Segebart (R-Vail), Tom Shipley (R-Nodaway), Amy Sinclair (R-Allerton), Roby Smith (R-Davenport), Jack Whitver (R-Ankeny), and Brad Zaun (R-Urbandale).

State Senators Rick Bertrand (R-Sioux City) and Dan Zumbach (R-Ryan) were absent.

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