Iowa’s three state universities, which said they couldn’t furlough professors, now may be getting around the flexibility lawmakers built into a budget plan. Senate Majority leader Stewart Iverson says the universities plan to avoid furloughs entirely, by borrowing from other programs and postponing maintenance.Iverson says when you defer maintenance, it’ll cost more in the long run. Lawmakers first proposed making all state workers take an unpaid day off each month to deal with the budget shortfall. Iverson said after schools complained they couldn’t handle professors that way, the legislature agreed to give agencies — and the universities — the power to make the cuts in ways they chose. He says their worries are proving true, that they’re pushing off the problem instead of facing it. Some campus workers aren’t paid with state money and would have faced no furlough, but Iverson says he thinks they could have worked it out.
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