State Budget Will Be a Hot Topic in 2015

Tom Cope on what this means for PCHTF

State Budget Will Be a Hot Topic in 2015

The 2015 session of the Iowa Legislature starts on Monday, January 12, and the major topic of discussion will be the 2016 state budget.  2016?  Just a few days ago, it was 2014.  The reason the budget will be such a hot topic is two-fold:  (1) the Ag economy in Iowa has seen slower growth due to lower farm commodity prices, and that means slower growth in the state budget, and (2) the state is having to pay for commitments it made in previous years to provide commercial property tax relief, more funding for education, and more funding for the Medicaid program.

The status of the state budget is important for twenty-seven housing trust funds across the state of Iowa, including the Polk County Housing Trust Fund, because they all receive funding from the State Housing Trust Fund.  For the 2015 state budget year, local housing trust funds received a total $7.372 million from the State Housing Trust Fund.  The Polk County Housing Trust Fund is the largest recipient of these funds, receiving $797,159 during this fiscal year.

The State Housing Trust Fund typically receives $6 million in state funds each year--$3 million from the Real Estate Transfer Tax, and a $3 million appropriation from the State’s Rebuild Iowa’s Infrastructure Fund.  The Iowa Finance Authority, which operates the State Housing Trust Fund, is able to add additional funds to this level; that explains why the total amount of funding this year exceeds $7 million. 

Each year, it is important for the advocates of the Polk County Housing Trust Fund talk to the Governor and Legislators about the importance of this funding.  Doing so will help ensure the continuation of this important funding source for the Polk County Housing Trust Fund.

Tom Cope is Principal at governmental relations firm Avenson, Oakley & Cope and a current Johnston City Councilman.  He previously served as the Chief of Staff for Iowa Senate Majority Leader Stew Iverson.