Republican legislators don’t appear to be swayed by petitions calling for more school funding presented to them today by leaders of various education groups. The groups say the petitions are an indication Iowans are willing to accept a tax increase in exchange for more education spending. House Speaker Christopher Rants, a republican from Sioux City, says they’ve done their best for education in tight budget times. He says they are providing 109-million more dollars for education — and he says, “are we raising taxes to do it? No we’re not.” Rants says he doubts the petitions will have much impact on school funding for next year. He says that number is pretty much set this year already. Senate majority leader Stewart Iverson says they even extended a 30-million dollar block grant for schools that was supposed to expire last year. Iverson says that money will be used to help schools maintain smaller classes at the lower elementary grades.The republican from Dows says while some Iowans may be willing to raise taxes for education, many others are not. He says you can always say we need to increases revenues. He says he hears that all the time from people who get money from state government. He says they have to balance between the people who want the money and the people who’re paying the money. Iverson says he’s not discounting the 55-thousand signatures on the petitions, but says it only represents a fraction of nearly three million Iowans.
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