The 2011 Iowa Legislature will begin next Monday, with a plan to make up to $300 million in cuts to the current year’s state budget among the first action items for Republicans.
House Speaker-elect Kraig Paulsen, a Republican from Hiawatha, says Republicans promised voters they’d cut the budget. “That’s one of the things that I think House Republicans are particularly looking forward to,” Paulsen says.
Republican Governor-elect Terry Branstad supports the effort to reduce spending in the six months that remain in the state’s fiscal year. “This is very helpful because if they de-appropriate in this fiscal year, we have a smaller problem to deal with in the next year,” Branstad says.
“De-appropriate” is another way to phrase the process where the legislature and governor agree to make cuts in the current year’s state spending outline. “I have tried to encourage (Paulsen) to do as much as they can in the de-appropriations because that makes the challenge that we’re facing a little less onerous in the subsequent years,” Branstad says.
Democrats in the legislature appear willing to agree to make cuts in this year’s state budget. Democratic Senator Jack Kibbie of Emmetsburg is president of the state senate where Democrats control the debate agenda.
“I don’t see any reason why Senate Democrats will not look at those issues and if there’s some de-appropriating to do, why I don’t know that we ought to stand in the way of that,” Kibbie says.
Governor Chet Culver, the Democrat who lost his bid for a second term, was required by law to release a plan in December to identify 84 million dollars in cuts to the current year’s state budget, but Culver failed to meet that deadline. That’s a frustration for Branstad.
“When I take office on January 14, this still may not be resolved,” Branstad lamented last week.
This afternoon, Branstad will be briefed on the details of state spending on education.