Most policy issues have been decided but state legislators have yet to agree on a state spending plan for the next budgeting year that begins July 1st. Senate Co-Leader Mike Gronstal, a Democrat from Council Bluffs, is optimistic that the end of the 2006 legislative session is near.
“We believe we can finish this session at the end of next week,” Gronstal says. “Everybody has their cards on the table. We need to go through a few days of tough bargaining next week and reach resolution on those issues.”
Gronstal and other legislative leaders say there’s general agreement on how much to spend on the state’s prison system and economic development, but there’s still no consensus on how much state tax money to commit to raising teacher salaries.
Senator Mary Lundby, a Republican from Marion who just took over as Senate Co-Leader this week, says that impasse isn’t a surprise to her. “This time of the year a lot of things are always on hold anyway and the budget always by this time of the year, even if you were in town every day, still has a tendency to be on hold at this point as you try to determine the figures, readjust those figures and get everybody on the same page,” Lundby says.