Governor's budget funds operating increase

Gov. Kim Reynolds' state budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1 would fully fund the regent universities' request for $18 million in new operating revenue designated for resident undergraduate financial aid. Iowa State's portion of that is $7 million. Reynolds released her proposed FY20 budget Jan. 15 during her State of the State address before the Iowa Legislature.

Other new funding in Reynolds' budget is $2 million -- half the amount requested last fall -- to coordinate initiatives in four bioscience platforms that would spur growth in the state's economy: biobased chemicals, precision and digital agriculture, vaccines and immunotherapeutics, and medical devices. Iowa State and the University of Iowa would share that funding, with three of the platforms landing at ISU. The platforms come from a 2016-17 study and report by TEConomy Partners commissioned by the Iowa Economic Development Authority.

"We are very pleased with Gov. Reynolds’ FY20 budget proposal, which includes fully funding our $7 million request for student financial aid and providing $2 million for key biosciences initiatives," said President Wendy Wintersteen. "This is a positive first step in the legislative process, and we will continue to work closely with the governor and the Legislature to demonstrate ISU’s excellent value for our students and for Iowa."

Building requests

Reynolds' budget includes capital appropriations for the Veterinary Diagnostic Lab and Student Innovation Center committed in previous legislative sessions. The 2018 Legislature approved a total of $63.5 million in state funds over six years for the VDL, including $12.5 million in FY20. Last spring, legislators again tweaked the timing of $40 million in state support for the Student Innovation Center. In both FY20 and FY21, Iowa State is scheduled to receive $10 million, with the final $7 million coming in FY22.

Not in Reynolds' FY20 budget is $10 million for a proposed $28 million student learning hub in Parks Library. Iowa State's request included $16 million in state support in the 2021 fiscal year. The learning hub would renovate about 44,000 square feet on the second and third floor of the library from book stacks to technology-equipped group collaboration spaces.

Neither does the Reynolds budget fund regent requests for:

  • $1.4 million to replace aged transmitter equipment for Iowa Public Radio, including $830,000 for WOI-FM.
  • $20 million to be shared among all regent institutions for deferred maintenance, fire safety and energy conservation needs. Systemwide, deferred maintenance has reached an estimated $940 million.
  • A 10 percent increase ($410,000) in operating support for the VDL.