Democrat Governor Tom Vislack’s rejecting the Republican plan for state spending on public schools for the 2005/2006 academic year as too meager, and Republican legislators do not intend to revisit the issue. Democrat Senator Mike Connolly of Dubuque says that’s flouting the state law which requires the legislature to set the general level of state aid for schools two years in advance. Connolly says it’s “outrageous” to ignore the law. Connolly says the republican-led legislature has done little in the month and a half it’s been meeting. Connolly says the Senate hasn’t “passed one cotton-pickin’ bill” in the seven weeks and Republicans have yet to unveil their general outline for next year’s state budget. Senator Ken Veenstra, a republican from Orange City, defends the work of his party members.Veenstra says republicans are “doing the best we can given the circumstances that surround budget issues this year.” He says the G-O-P is handling the matter in an “orderly” fashion. Connolly accuses republicans of crafting a budget outline in private so they can spring it on the public hours before a vote so there’s little chance for examination of the plan. Connolly asked whether republicans would unveil their budget plan “in the dark of night — slam, bam, thank you, ma’am — and we have no input?” He says that’s what democrats are concerned about. Veenstra says democrats and the general public will have plenty of time to review the G-O-P’s plan. Veenstra says republicans “will get the job done.” Republicans are struggling to balance a tight state budget with little extra tax revenue coming in, promises to increase education spending and a pledge not to raise taxes.
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