As legislators struggle to complete their work and adjourn for the year, House Republicans have issued what they say is their final offer to Governor Tom Vilsack. The Republicans say they’ll plug about 46-million more dollars into the state budget to address some of democrat Governor Tom Vilsack’s concerns. Vilsack has repeatedly threatened to veto the G-O-P budget plan and call lawmakers back in special session to spend more on education and health care for kids. Republican House Speaker Brent Siegrist of Council Bluffs says his party’s offering a “reasonable” compromise, and negotiations are over. He says they’re not being difficult, and says the “Governor is very difficult to negotiate with, because he always wants more.”Vilsack says the deal’s not good enough. He says while he’s encouraged by what he sees as a positive first step, he says there are still “significant differences in some very important areas.” House Republican Leader Christopher Rants of Sioux City says it is the legislature’s “final answer.”Rants says there is “nowhere else to go.” Rants says they’ve addressed the governor’s priorities and he doesn’t understand the governor’s “hang-up.”Vilsack characterizes the G-O-P offer as a “first step” and maintains if lawmakers don’t plug even more money into the budget, he’ll call ’em back in special session later this spring or summer. Vilsack says avoiding the special session will require them sitting down and discussing the issue.Vilsack refuses to concede. Vilsack says there isn’t sufficient support for the number one priority for Iowa families.Vilsack says, for example, the budget republicans have drawn up for Iowa, Iowa State and U-N-I will result in significantly higher tuition, and enrollment caps.
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