The state of Iowa’s budget hit red ink June 30th. Lawmakers and the Governor had expected to end the fiscal year with a surplus of nearly nine million, but there’s a predicted seven-point-six million dollar shortfall instead. House Republican Leader Christopher Rants of Sioux City blames democrat Governor Tom Vilsack. He says Republican legislators sent Vilsack a bill that would have made cuts in the budget last spring; he vetoed the idea. Then, the G-O-P urged Vilsack to make an across-the-board budget cut in late spring, but Vilsack refused. Rants says there’s not much the state can do to erase the shortfall now, but Rants says Republicans’ll be vigilant in the future.Rants says the shortfall won’t cause an emergency and the state government won’t be forced to shut down as the state can tap into its cash reserves. He says using the cash reserves is not a good budget practice.Governor Vilsack’s spokesman, Joe Shannahan, says there’s no emergency, and republicans are playing Chicken Little. Shannahan says the state has 500-million dollars in a savings account and the shortfall is one-tenth of one percent of the state’s budget. He says it’s a “very manageable” situation. Shannahan says republicans are simple trying to scare Iowans.Shannahan says if republicans had been successful in cutting the amount of taxes they wanted, the state would be even farther in deficit.There’s no legal penalty on the books for having the state budget slide into a deficit, but unhappy republican lawmakers like Rants could sue Vilsack in court.
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