Iowa quadruples general fund budget surplus in fiscal year 2021

Iowa ended fiscal year 2021 with a budget surplus of $1.24 billion in its general fund, four times the budget surplus from fiscal year 2020, which was $305 million.

"Iowa is in a very strong financial position due to our fiscal responsibility," Gov. Kim Reynolds said in the announcement Monday. "This surplus proves we accomplished exactly what we set out to do – overcome the financial challenges caused by the global pandemic and invest in education, workforce, healthcare, agriculture and technology."

Iowa's fiscal year ends June 30. Its accrual period, when it pays and receives outstanding obligations, ends Sept. 30.

"The growth of the Iowa surplus is a direct result of pro-growth policies and fiscal restraint," Americans for Prosperity – Iowa State Director Drew Klein told The Center Square in an emailed statement. "This number should only continue to highlight the need to reduce Iowa taxes and return those dollars to Iowa taxpayers."

The state spent $21.09 billion through 1.68 million total transactions, according to the state of Iowa's Checkbook ledger website. It spent more per month than every past fiscal year since 2014 except in November 2020 and June 2021. In November 2020 ($1.98 billion), the state spent about $10 million less than it did in November 2019 ($1.99 billion). In June 2021, it spent $2 billion, which was higher than average June months from 2014 to 2021 ($1.83 billion) but not as high as the June 2014 expenditure ($2.36 billion).

Des Moines Independent Community School District was the entity that received the most money from the state, $380.02 million. About 91% of that funding was for education, and that included $250.77 million for school foundation aid. The state paid Wellmark $339.90 million, nearly all of which was for health insurance premiums. Iowa spent $7.11 billion in human services assistance payments in fiscal year 2021.

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