Governor Tom Vilsack has ordered an 82-million dollar, across-the-board reduction in state spending. The action came late yesterday after a panel of state financial experts lowered its estimate of state tax collections. Vilsack says the state’s current fiscal situation reminds him of what Iowa’s farmers are facing — fields once predicted to yield a bumper crop are actually producing a disappointing crop. Vilsack says it’s too early to say whether there will be layoffs in state government, or in schools.Vilsack says the cuts will provide a “significant challenge” to Iowa’s education community. Vilsack says K-through-12 schools have some reserves to fall back on, but community colleges and the state-supported universities in Ames, Cedar Falls and Iowa City will find this latest round of cuts difficult to make. Republican legislators had hoped Vilsack would cut deeper. Vilsack says he’s doing enough to right the ship of state. He say the reduction is a difficult challenge for educators and for kids and he says going beyond it makes it more challenging. Vilsack says the federal government needs to do more to stimulate the nation’s economy Vilsack says until people are put back to work, states will continue to struggle financially. A handful of state agencies will not be affected by the cuts because they agreed to make deeper cuts earlier this year and in exchange are to be exempt from additional reductions. The cuts will not apply to the Department of Human Services, the state Veteran’s Home in Marshalltown, the Department of Corrections, the Department of Natural Resources, the Department of Revenue and the state alcoholic beverages division.
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