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The next phase of the 2022 legislative session began this week as the first of the Fiscal Year 2023 budget bills were released and subcommittees started taking action on the proposed spending plans.

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Leading the way is the Justice Systems Budget subcommittee, which has released its proposals for both the Judicial Branch and the Justice Systems budgets for next fiscal year.  For the Judicial Branch, state spending would increase by $7.36 million for fiscal year 2023.  The increase in funding will cover the costs of adding four new associate judge positions, and providing judges and magistrates with a 5.9% salary increase.  In total, the bill would spend $200.6 million on the state’s judicial branch in Fiscal Year 2023.

The bulk of the increase in funding allocated to the subcommittee will be spent in the Justice Systems budget bill.  The Department of Corrections will receive an additional $7.1 million in the next budget year.  These funds will be spread out amongst the various state correctional facilities and the eight community-based corrections districts.  If enacted into law, funding for the Department of Corrections will have increased by almost 29 million dollars above its FY 2021 levels.

The Department of Public Safety also will receive a sizeable increase for the second year in a row.  DPS will get an additional $3.1 million in FY 2023.  The majority of that increase will go to the Iowa State Patrol, which will have a budget of $71.5 million for Fiscal Year 2023.  The budget also continues the commitment made last year to provide DPS with a separate funding stream for equipment purchases.  The Justice Systems budget will again provide $2.5 million for this.

Another budget unit that will see an increase is the State Public Defender’s office in the Department of Inspections and Appeals.  Funding for public defenders will go up 650 thousand dollars, and the funding for private attorneys being appointed to provide representation to indigent defendants will rise by $1.6 million.

The Transportation, Infrastructure, and Capitals Appropriations Subcommittee will also take action on the FY 23 Transportation budget bill.  That bill mirrors the proposal unveiled by Governor Reynolds to spend $410.7 million on the operations of the Department of Transportation and an additional $14.3 million for capital projects.

The remaining budget bills will begin moving through the subcommittee process over the next week, and consideration by the House Appropriations Committee following closely.  These steps have signaled that it is budget time at the Iowa State Capital.

Author: John Wills

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