Southeast Iowa legislators discuss state's budget shortfall

State Senators Mark Chelgren (R) and Ken Rozenboom (R) and State Rep. Larry Sheets (R) were all present at Saturday's legislative forum at the Bridge View Center in Ottumwa./KTVO

It’s budget time on the Hill and Iowa legislators are expecting a $30 to $50 million dollar shortfall.

State Senators Mark Chelgren and Ken Rozenboom as well as Representative Larry Sheets were in Ottumwa Saturday morning for the League of Women Voters’ legislative session. Democratic Representative Mary Gaskill was unable to attend the event.

KTVO caught up with each of them to see what they think is the best way to tackle this budget shortfall.

“Well I think first and foremost we got to make sure that we do it one time. I don’t want to go back and make multiple cuts. We also have to make sure we have enough cushion,” said Chelgren (R – Ottumwa).

“I don’t think across the board percentage cuts is something that we should do. I think the Governor’s budget is close to a 9/10th of a percent across the board cut,” said Sheets (R – Centerville). “The House, which I’m in agreement with, is looking at each of the line items separately, deciding what’s most important, and I think that’s a proper way to go about it.”

“We have to find a better way of estimating revenue. The revenue estimating conference – that three-person board – has been wrong the last six years,” said Rozenboom (R – Oskaloosa). “They’ve always overestimated our budget revenue. And, we can’t continue down that road. This is not fair to anybody to do cuts mid-year, none of us want to do that.”

As far what caused the shortfall, Chelgren attributes it to tax credits, while Rozenboom says overspending is the issue and the tax credits just need to be reviewed.

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