The leader of democrats in the Iowa Senate says he’s “disappointed” democrat Governor Tom Vilsack has decided against calling lawmakers back in special session to spend more money on schools and fix other parts of the state budget. Senate Democrat Leader Michael Gronstal says hundreds of Iowa school teachers have been laid off, and that’s something he and other democrats wish could have been avoided by sending more state aid to public schools. Republican lawmakers and Democrat Governor Tom Vilsack, though, agreed on the same level of state aid for schools. Vilsack had sought more money for the state’s new “Iowa Values Fund” economic development program, but republicans balked. Gronstal says that means state job creation efforts will stall. Gronstal says the program was originally supposed to be a seven-year program, but it will now end next year. Republican leaders say they’ll figure out a way to bankroll it next year. Gronstal, who’s from Council Bluffs, quarreled with Senate Republican Leader Stewart Iverson of Dows this morning during taping of an Iowa Public TV show that airs tonight. Gronstal says it’s time for an election to change the make-up of the legislature. Iverson says the only thing lawmakers could do in special session to meet the demands for more money would be to raise taxes and Iverson says even Gronstal’s not saying he’d vote to raise taxes. On Monday, Governor Vilsack said he had identified at least five major deficiencies in the republican-crafted state budget plan but would sign the bill since republicans have vowed not to change a thing if he called lawmakers back in special session.
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