Iowa official: Federal cuts to reduce state budget

DES MOINES – Automatic federal budget cuts will reduce Iowa’s state budget by about $46 million, with education, public health and workforce development taking the hardest hits, Department of Management Director David Roederer said Thursday.

Roederer did not detail how exactly the cuts would be made, though he said the state was working to limit the toll on the public.

“The direction the governor gave all of the departments was that they make sure to do everything within their power to minimize the impact on the recipient of the service,” Roederer said at a news conference at the state Capitol.

The White House and Congress last week failed to meet a deadline to prevent $85 billion in budget cuts from taking effect.

Roederer said the total combined state and federal budget for Iowa is about $12 billion, putting the cut at about 0.4 percent of the total budget. He said the state will not be using any general fund dollars to make up the cuts.

About 237 budgeted positions could be impacted, though Roederer didn’t say exactly how many of those jobs were filled or how many workers could face layoffs or unpaid furloughs. He did not give a timeline for making a decision about furloughs or layoffs, though he said the state does not want to furlough people if it appears the federal cuts will be in place for a long time.

“Our assumption is that these cuts will be made permanent,” Roederer said.

Programs receiving cuts include funding for students with disabilities, health initiatives for women and children and vocational job training. But Roederer said the services will remain available though it may take longer to get them.

Roederer said the state National Guard funding will also be cut, but that is largely funded directly by the federal government and doesn’t come under the state budget.