Democrats, including Governor Vilsack, are criticizing the Republican budget plan released yesterday. Senator Joel Bolkcom, a democrat from Iowa City, says more needs to be spent on state efforts to protect children.Bolkcom says case workers who oversee most troubled kids and families have case loads three times that national average. He says that’s a “disgrace.” Senator Jack Hatch, a democrat from Des Moines, says Republicans have “screwed up” priorities because they’re advancing a 33-million dollar state grant for a biotech firm rather than hiring more child abuse investigators.Senator Amanda Regan, a democrat from Mason City, says Republicans should spend 27 million more on Department of Human Services programs. That’s 22 million more than even democrat Governor Tom Vilsack proposed. The Republicans also intend to cut the budgets of Iowa, Iowa State and U-N-I by 29-million dollars and Senate Democrat Leader Michael Gronstal of Council Bluffs says that’s short-sighted. Gronstal says the Republicans have decided it’s more important to maintain a loophole out-of-state corporations use to get out of paying taxes than it is to help kids who’re going to college. Governor Vilsack proposes changing state tax law to ensure out-of-state corporations don’t set up sham corporations to elude state taxes. He estimates closing that loophole would yield the state about 25 million dollars. Students from the state-supported universities plan to rally at the statehouse over the noonhour, protesting the double-digit tuition increases they’ve had to bear as state budget cuts trimmed the universities’ spending.
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