Iowa politicians are at war over the state budget. Democrat Governor Tom Vilsack’s taking to the road to criticize the budget cuts republicans propose, especially cuts in education. For example, the G-O-P has backed away from its promise to spend 40-million dollars to raise teacher pay.Vilsack says they are giving the message that education is not a priority.He says a basic value in politics is following through with promises. Vilsack says he wants to make it “painfully clear” to legislators that he is “going to hold firm” and insist on more spending for education programs.Republicans like House Majority Leader Christopher Rants of Sioux City are bristling. Rants says Vilsack’s is trying to paint republicans in a bad light. Rants says republicans are simply trying to make adjustments because of the revenue situation. Rants says negotiations behind the scenes are much more amicable. Republicans say a few of the things democrats accuse them of cutting are actually reductions in planned increases, not cuts. But House Speaker Brent Siegrist, a republican from Council Bluffs, admits republicans and democrats have “substantial differences” to resolve over the budget. Senate Democrat Leader Mike Gronstal of Council Bluffs says democrats are ready for verbal combat. But House Democrat Leader Dick Myers says it’s time for somebody to extend the olive branch. Myers says it’s time to start looking for a solution. Republicans want to cut about 200-million dollars more than Vilsack does.
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