As usual on a Friday, Iowa legislators aren’t working at the statehouse today, and some democrat lawmakers are complaining there’s not much work underway when the Legislature is in session Monday through Thursday. Senate Democrat Leader Michael Gronstal of Council Bluffs says republicans are canceling committee meetings to avoid public discussion of the state’s budget mess, and what budget cuts might be ahead. Gronstal says republicans may be thinking their best approach to unpopular budget cuts will be to wait as late as possible to release the details and take a quick vote, so G-O-P lawmakers don’t get pressed by the public to change their minds. Republicans control the debate agenda, and Senate Republican Leader Stewart Iverson of Dows says republicans are meeting privately to hammer out a budget. Iverson says democrats so far haven’t contributed much but complaints. Iverson says “it’s always easy to whine about everything.” The budget dilemma legislators face is daunting. The state will collect just about the same amount of money this year as it did last, but already-programmed spending increases mean lawmakers will have to trim 300 million dollars or spend some of the state’s cash reserve to make the budget balance.
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