The executive director of the National Governor’s Association says states, including Iowa, have tough budget times ahead. Ray Scheppach of the National Governor’s Association says states haven’t faced a fiscal situation this dire since the second World War. Scheppach, who talked with Iowa reporters yesterday, believes states will have to cut a lot more. Scheppach predicts states will raise tuition at state universities, toss some of the poor of Medicaid, layoff more government workers, and increase taxes. But state officials were quick to say Iowa is in better shape than Scheppach’s dire national forecast would indicate. Randy Bauer, Governor Tom Vilsack’s Budget Director, says while most states recorded slight budget increases this year, the state of Iowa’s budget was cut three percent for the current year. Bauer says the Vilsack Administration is cautious and “got started cutting budgets faster than other states did.” But Bauer isn’t giving any hints of what might be ahead.Bauer says Governor Vilsack is just now putting together his recommendations for the budgeting year that starts July 1st, and it would be — in Bauer’s words — “premature to speculate” about what cuts may or may not come. Ron Parker is Governor Vilsack’ press secretary.Parker says the state of Iowa had more money than expected left over at the end of the last fiscal year, but Vilsack, according to Parker, is still cautious about the economy and is crafting a budget that will focus on key priorities. Parker says those priorities are education, health care and jobs. During the past campaign, Vilsack raise taxes to deal with the budget situation.
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