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Wittneben: Two-year budget is difficult at best

By Staff | May 6, 2011

How many of us could do a two-year budget and stick to it?

Well, probably not many.

Besides unforeseeable expenses, there’s inflation – which we all know has reared its ugly head over the last several months at both the gas pump and on the grocery shelf.

Rep. John Wittneben of Estherville told Estherville Rotarians Thursday – and the Daily News in an interview earlier this week – how a two-year budget could cause more problems than a lot of people realize.

Wittneben told Rotarians Thursday Gov. Terry Branstad had “drawn a line in the sand” over a two-year budget. And, in an interview with the Daily News Monday, he said Gov. Branstad said he felt a mandate from Iowans to do a two-year budget. However, Wittneben said a two-year budget is desired by neither the Iowa Senate nor House Democrats.

Complicating the matter is that the Revenue Estimating Council won’t give numbers for a second year. “Any budget for 2013 is based on imaginary numbers,” Wittneben said.

Wittneben said House Republicans admit if there’s a two-year budget that numbers would have to be adjusted for the second year.

Wittneben said too the governor would hold the reins over the second year of the budget.

“You’re supplanting 150 people with one person. I don’t want to do that,” Wittneben said.

In another issue affecting the state budget, allowable growth for schools, Wittneben said holding allowable growth to zero percent for two years has never been done.

Wittneben also told Rotarians Thursday about the redistricting plan for legislative and U.S. House seats based on the 2010 Census.

He said Iowa has the fairest redistricting system in the nation.