Republicans in the legislature propose that next year’s state budget be 340-million dollars less than this year’s. House Speaker Brent Siegrist, a republican from Council Bluffs, says state tax revenues have dipped significantly. He says “we don’t have any money, it’s a hard, true cruel fact.” Siegrist says cutting back is not going to be a lot of fun.It amounts to an overall, one-point-three percent decrease in state spending, but some agencies will be cut deeper than others. House Appropriations Committee chairman David Millage, a republican from Bettendorf, says the cuts, though, are “not Draconian.” Millage says agencies can use furloughs instead of layoffs to save some money. He says that would give the agencies some flexibility.State aid to public schools will not be cut. House Republican Leader Christopher Rants of Sioux City says the other cuts can be made without harming “vital” government services.A couple of weeks ago, Governor Vilsack suggested 140-million dollars worth of cuts in next year’s state budget, and he wants to dip into the state’s “Economic Emergency Fund” for another 120-million to finance some state programs, like the teacher salary package.
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