Governor Tom Vilsack says he doesn’t “see the need” for legislators to stick around Des Moines very long this week. “I don’t really see that there’s much to debate here,” Vilsack says. “It’s time to get it done.” Spending decisions are the big agenda items that remain for the 2005 Iowa Legislature, but House Republicans are reluctant to spend as much as Republicans and Democrats in the Iowa Senate outlined in the state budget plan the Senate passed last week. Vilsack lauds the extra spending the Senate approved for early childhood programs and teacher pay as well as the Senate’s 10-year-plan to extend half a billion dollars in state grants to businesses through the recreated Iowa Values Fund. “It’s not time to take a step back,” Vilsack says. “It’s time to take a step forward.” One non-spending issue still unresolved is the bill that toughens penalties for sex offenders. Vilsack calls that the toughest law in the country, and he’s urging the House to quickly endorse the changes made in the Senate. “This is good work. Let’s get it done. Pat yourself on the back,” Vilsack says. “Go home and tell people you’ve done a good job, and they have.” The House started its workday at 10 o’clock this morning. The Senate won’t reconvene until one o’clock this afternoon.
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