Iowa cities vying for 40-million dollars in “Vision Iowa” grants for large community projects are breathing easier today after the vast majority of legislators rejected the idea of giving that money to schools. Three Republican lawmakers said the money would be better spent on schools hit hard by state budget cuts, but House Republican Leader Christopher Rants of Sioux City says Iowa needs those “Vision Iowa” projects. Rants says the funds are probably the biggest economic development project ever passed.Legislators met yesterday in a daylong “special session” to rework the state budget, which would have dipped into red ink if cuts hadn’t been made.House Speaker Brent Siegrist, a republican from Council Bluffs, told reporters last night that Thursday’s action was only the beginning. Siegriest says there are still significant problems in the coming year, but they have “righted the ship” for this fiscal year. Siegrist says there’s more “streamlining” ahead for state government. He says republicans will work with the democrats and the governor to may systemic changes in the system.House Democrat Leader Dick Myers of Iowa City agrees legislators will have to make some tough decisions when they convene in regular session in January.Senate Democrat Leader Mike Gronstal of Council Bluffs gave the legislature poor marks for its performance. He says they’re neglecting some of the things they need to do. He calls it a bad day for Iowa kids when it comes to education.The House adjourned at 6:15 last night. The Senate finished its work three hours later.
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