Key Republican legislators are giving Democrat Governor Tom Vilsack’s budget outline a thumbs down. Senate Co-President Jeff Lamberti, a Republican from Ankeny, says Vilsack wants to spend too much. “It is too big. It’s not sustainable,” Lamberti says. Vilsack proposes a six percent spending increase in the next state budgeting year which begins July 1st. Lamberti says that’s just too much when you figure in the seven percent spending increase in the current budgeting year. Republican House
Speaker Christopher Rants of Sioux City says Vilsack finances his extra spending by raising taxes. “He’s talking about raising the beer tax. He’s talking about raising the tobacco tax,” Rants says. “We are not going to be looking at asking Iowans to pay more. Iowans are looking to spend those dollars themselves and we ought to respect that.”
Representative Scott Raecker, a Republican from Urbandale, is the new chairman of the House Appropriations Committee and he calls Vilsack’s plan a starting point in budget negotiations. “It’s a large budget,” Raecker says. “He’s identified his priorities and how he wants to fund those priorities.” Raecker is praising Vilsack for delivering his budget outline to lawmakers today (Tuesday).
By law, Vilsack has ’til January 30th to submit his budget plan to lawmakers. Raecker says if the 2006 Legislature hopes to complete its work in 100 days, then the speedy delivery of the governor’s budget numbers is a plus.