State democrats and republicans are pointing fingers and blaming each other for a large increase in tuition at the three state-supported universities. The State Board of Regents approved a nearly 10-percent increase in tuition last week. Senator Matt McCoy, a democrat from Des Moines, blames the increase on Republican tax cuts.Senator McCoy says the tuition increase would’ve been worse had democrat governor Tom Vilsack not threatened to veto deeper cuts to the Regent’s budget. Senate President Mary Kramer, a republican from West Des Moines, says the governor failed to fully fund university salaries in his budget recommendation.Kramer says democrats knew the consequences, but now are trying to blame republicans.Both parties actually played a role in sending the Regents less money. The governor did not fully fund the salaries, and the republicans approved less money for the universities’ operating budgets. Kramer says the democrats are trying to use the issue to sway voters in the upcoming election. Kramer believes republicans will hold onto the Senate thanks to a strong showing by republican presidential candidate George W. Bush.Senate Minority leader Mike Gronstal, a democrat from Council Bluffs, says the tight race will bring out more voters and favor democrats.The democrats need to pick up six seats to gain the majority in the Iowa Senate.
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