Republicans say it may be time to tie the hands of the people set tuition rates for Iowa, Iowa State and U-N-I and set tuition. Republican Senate Co-President Jeff Lamberti of Ankeny made the suggestion after university officials vowed to raise tuition because the schools didn’t get as much state money as they requested. Lamberti says the state-supported universities will get a 27-MILLION dollar boost in state funding. “I can’t recall a year where they were anywhere close to that kind of an increase,” Lamberti says. “I think the thing at some point in time that this legislature is going to have to talk about is if we need to control the rise in tuition. (The Board of Regents) apparently can’t, so maybe we need to.” Lamberti says it’s “just wrong” to raise tuition for next spring’s semester by three percent. University officials say they need another 18 MILLION dollars from the Legislature to meet their “transformation” goals. Republican Senate Co-Leader Stewart Iverson of Dows is unmoved by the latest gambit from the universities. “It’s very easy to say ‘Give me more money,'” Iverson says. “Our universities I think are being pretty well taken care of.” University officials have suggested that legislators raise the cigarette tax another 10-cents and dedicate that extra tax money to the universities. Iverson says no. “It’s always easy to say ‘Raise taxes and give us more’ but I think we’re doing pretty well,” Iverson says. “I don’t think the Regents should be complaining.” The other Senate Co-Leader, Demorat Mike Gronstal of Council Bluffs, is sympathetic to the plea for more money. “Are we completely happy with the compromise that we got? The answer is clearly ‘No’ but we have listened to Republicans,” Gronstal says. “We have reflected their concerns in our joint agreement and if we had it to do ourselves, would we come up with more resources for the Regents? You bet we would.” In the late 1980s, it was Democrat legislators who suggested limiting tuition increases at Iowa, Iowa State and U-N-I because the Board of Regents at that time was enacting double-digit tuition increases. You can hear the comments Senate leaders made today on this topic on-line at www.radioiowa.com.
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