Today’s supposed to be the last day of the 2001 Iowa Legislature, but big issues remain unresolved, and lawmakers will return to Des Moines for at least another week of work. Democrat Governor Tom Vilsack and republican legislators are sparring over how much to spend in next year’s state budget. Republicans intend to spend about 150-million dollars less than Vilsack wants. House Republican Leader Christopher Rants of Sioux City says the Governor has “rebuffed” every Republican overture, and it’s time for the G-O-P to pass its agenda and go home. Senate Democrat Leader Mike Gronstal of Council Bluffs says Governor Vilsack will veto Republican budget bills, and force lawmakers to return to Des Moines in a special session. Rants says the state’s financial situation’s so bad, the state went in the red last week and had to dip in to the special, “rainy day” reserve account that’s set aside for economic emergencies. Governor Vilsack wants to use money from the “rainy day” fund to raise teacher pay and hire more child abuse investigators.
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