A key legislator says the state’s current budget may have to be pared by as much as 150-million dollars. Yesterday, Governor Tom Vilsack said state tax collections were way below expectations, and additional budget cuts were likely. Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Jeff Lamberti, a republican from Ankeny, says cuts must be made, and more state workers will be laid off. He says the time is getting critical for them to act.Lamberti says at least 100-million dollars must be cut, and the problem could be as high as 150-million. He says everything has to be on the table, including layoffs or furloughs of state workers.Governor Vilsack yesterday ordered state agencies to cut travel and quit buying supplies — and instituted a hiring freeze. Lamberti wonders why that order wasn’t made earlier, as state tax collections have been lagging for months. He says they knew they only had a 1.5 million dollar cushion, and revenues slowed again in mid December.Lamberti expects the economy to pick up by this summer, which’ll ease the state budget crisis.
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