Governor Tom Vilsack released details of a nearly five billion dollar state spending plan for next fiscal year that does not include more money to boost teacher pay. Vilsack is asking lawmakers to maintain last year’s level of spending on teacher salaries and mentoring programs. Vilsack says he believes this is a reasonable approach in the context the state’s budget problems.Vilsack calls for spending about 100-million dollars more on education iniatives. He’s asking legislators to provide 30-million more dollars to Iowa, Iowa State and U-N-I for faculty salaries, as he says it’ll help avoid an exodus of talent.Vilsack taps into some special state funds, like the so-called “rainy day” account, to get that new money for education. He says they are not new ideas, but have at one time or another been approved by the legislature.Vilsack also wants to use the sales taxes paid on auto purchases to finance public safety and he wants to spend the interest generated from state’s special infrastructure fund. That’s the fund into which all gambling taxes are deposited, and the money’s used for construction projects.
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