Gov. Kim Reynolds Considering Special Legislative Session To Address Budget Shortfall; State Ombudsman's Office Looking At Reductions

Wed 8-30-2017

DES MOINES-- Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds says she will announce in September whether she'll need to call a special legislative session to address a budget shortfall. 

The Republican Governor told reporters Tuesday she is still reviewing financial information for the budget year that ended in June. The books on that budget year won't officially close until next month.

The nonpartisan Legislative Services Agency said this summer that Iowa's roughly $7.2 billion budget, which lawmakers already cut last session, was facing a revenue shortfall of about $100 million. The agency warned the figure could fluctuate.

Reynolds has authority to transfer up to $50 million from an emergency fund. A larger shortfall would require lawmakers to return to Des Moines to approve either a higher transfer or cuts.

Meanwhile, the Governor says the state agency that advocates for the elderly and disabled will review its budget to avoid some cuts to staff visits at facilities like nursing homes, but she didn't offer specifics.

Reynolds told reporters her office is communicating with the office of the Iowa Long-Term Care Ombudsman to review options.

The Ombudsman's Office announced recently that reductions to its state-appropriated budget, which is just about $1 million, would limit staff travel to facilities like nursing homes. The travel is aimed at monitoring conditions.

Reynolds says a large portion of the office's budget is salaries and administrative costs, so officials may try to use resources differently. She declined to clarify if that could lead to layoffs at the Ombudsman's Office.

(From the Associated Press.)