A committee lawmakers asked to come up with 100-million dollars in state budget savings has just one meeting left, but is far short of attacking state spending programs. The “Program Elimination Commission’s” most ambitious recommendation to date is its call for closing two of the state’s four mental hospitals. A new recommendation out this week calls for Iowa’s smallest schools to implement budget savings plans or face a more dramatic reduction in state aid than is forecast. However, commission members say any savings identified should be plowed back into improving Iowa schools. The panel meets again next week to make all its plans final, but aren’t expected to come up with any bold proposals. Governor Tom Vilsack says the effort was doomed to failure from the start because state government’s already been cut to the bone. Others say the Commission wasn’t able to devote enough time to the task of examining state government operations.
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