Democrat Governor Tom Vilsack’s reluctant to go along with an idea republican legislators have advanced as a way to erase the state’s budget deficit. G-O-P lawmakers say state workers’ pay should be either frozen or cut, but Vilsack says state employees have already voted to delay their pay raise.Vilsack says as a result of previous budget cuts in the past 18 months, the state government workforce is already down 10 percent. He says Iowa’s state employees are the only state workers he knows of nationally that’ve deferred their pay increase. Vilsack, who’s a lawyer, says it would be a legal risk for the state to freeze or cut state workers’ pay, as it’d violate the contract with unionized workers. He says the state tried it before and ended up paying a lot of legal fees in a time when it didn’t have a lot of extra money. Vilsack meets with legislative leaders this afternoon to review their options in dealing with the budget crisis. He’ll continue to press to take 60-million dollars out of the state’s billion-dollar road construction fund and use that money on education programs.Vilsack says only one state — Texas — has more miles of road, per capita, than Iowa does, and he says it wouldn’t harm the state to delay construction of 20-miles of four-lane highway.
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