The chairman of the Iowa Senate’s tax-writing committee says it’s time for policymakers to leave more unspent money in the state budget as a cushion should emergencies arise. Republican Senator Larry McKibben of Marshalltown says state financial experts haven’t done a good enough job of predicting, and leaving just one-million dollars unspent isn’t enough. McKibben says the “cushion” should be two to five percent. That would be at least 90 million dollars in the present budgeting year. McKibben says Democrat Governor Tom Vilsack needs to help reign in spending, and commit to leaving some money unspent. McKibben says Vilsack wants to “spend every penny we’ve got.” Vilsack says he is not interested in leaving a large portion of money — like that 90 million dollars — unspent.Vilsack says it’s always easy to criticize spending, but he says the alternative is not putting troopers on the road, keeping prisoners under lock and key or spending more to improve schools.
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