There were protest rallies galore at the statehouse today as groups gathered to criticize the state budget cuts Republicans propose. The state employees union organized a mid-day rally on the statehouse steps to urge republicans to dip into the state’s emergency reserve account to pay the bills. Steve Mulcahy of Ottumwa, president of Vietnam Veterans of Iowa, derided the cuts republicans intend to make at the state Veteran’s Home. Mulcahy says veterans were promised the benefits of the hospital when they entered the service.Mulcahy says the Veteran’s Home will have to close nearly eight dozen beds — and lay off 79 workers. He asked, “Who’ll be the first senator or legislator to send our veterans away from the home?” Two dozen students from Iowa, Iowa State and U-N-I traveled to Des Moines this afternoon to lobby against the cuts lawmakers propose for the Regents schools. Iowa State University student body president Andy Tofilin of Davenport says the cuts “pull the rug out from under students.” He says legislators are trying to cut the “work study” program and other financial aid.Adam Briddell of West Des Moines, a junior at U-N-I who’s president of the student body, says tuition’ll go up too much for some students.University of Iowa student body president Nick Klemske of Dubuque says legislators should not eliminate the state’s contribution to “work-study” programs on the campuses.The American Cancer Society held a news conference to ask legislators to spend more state money to provide treatment of poor women who have breast or cervical cancer. The Society’s Theresa Harms says for every quarter the state spends, the feds will put up three for the program.Harms says the state should put up about a quarter of a million dollars from the tobacco settlement money to get the program going.
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