Legislative leaders from both political parties are giving Governor Branstad generally good marks for the tone of his annual “Condition of the State” message.
“I thought it was a great speech. I think he’s providing leadership. I think he’s been a great leader for the state of Iowa and he clearly has a bold agenda to continue that,” says House Speaker Kraig Paulsen of Hiawatha, the top-ranking Republican in the legislature.
But Senate President Pam Jochum, a Democrat from Dubuque, says not all the governor’s proposals will be cheered by Democrats. Specifically, Branstad’s recommended level of state aid for public school districts is tens of millions of dollars less than Democrats favor.
“It is less than what we know we need in order to bring Iowa’s per pupil spending investment up to at least close the national average,” Jochum says.
But Jochum says she’s “cautiously optimistic” about the main goals Branstad outlined.
“Certainly the anti-bullying proposal as well as the anti-domestic violence proposal will get a very good response from the Iowa Seante,” Jochum says.
The Branstad agenda does not include something House Republicans like Paulsen want.
“Obviously finding a way to for Iowans to leave more of their own money in their pockets is a priority of House Republicans,” Paulsen says. “I expect to work on that.”
The governor presented his own budget sketch to the General Assembly this morning and Paulsen says that helps speed up decision-making on the state budget plan legislators will develop.