Top republicans agree with democrat Governor Tom Vilsack that there’s a need for quick action on raising teacher salaries. Vilsack proposed this morning that 40-million dollars in state aid should immediately be directed to raising teacher pay. House Speaker Brent Siegrist, a republican from Council Bluffs, says it’s an idea worth considering. Siegrist says it might be time to try and set aside a pot of money to be sure the money is available while they work through the details.The Governor says by committing the 40-million in reserve now, it won’t get spent on something else. Siegrist says the timing of that commitment is still under negotiation. He says they’ll work with the governor as much as they can.House Republican Leader Christopher Rants of Sioux City says there’s no agreement on the details of the teacher pay initiative, other than how much lawmakers and the governor are willing to spend. He says once the legislature makes its decisions, it’s going to take time for local districts to develop their plans. He says rushing into things would be a mistake.Vilsack proposed no additional tax cuts, which draws fire from republicans like Siegrist. Siegrist says that’s a disappointment since a tax cut is one of their priorities. Vilsack’s call for a one-dollar increase in the minimum wage is going nowhere with Republicans. Senate Republican Leader Stewart Iverson of Dows doesn’t think adults working a 40-hour week are making minimum wage. Dows says a lot of the 100-thousand people on the minimum wage mentioned by the governor are probably students.Iverson says it doesn’t make economic sense to raise the minimum wage. He says someone has to pay when you raise the minimum wage. He says it could translate into a higher grocery bill or clothing bill as merchants raise the cost of their products to pay for the increase.
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