Democratic leaders in the legislature split from Governor Chet Culver today and are promising a bigger spending increase for the state’s community colleges. Culver, who is a Democrat as well, recommended a two percent increase in state support of the 15 area community colleges.
Senate President Jack Kibbie, a Democrat from Emmetsburg, says that’s "disappointing" but fixable. "I’ve been here 28 years and quite a few governors and every governor…has left popular things out of their budgets in order for them to balance their own ideas," Kibbie says. "We’ve always come to an agreement in a civil way and we will this time."
Earlier today Governor Culver suggested Republicans who’ve criticized his community college spending recommendation had succumbed to the "emotions" of election year, but House Speaker Pat Murphy, a Democrat from Dubuque, says Democrats won’t settle for Culver’s two percent increase either.
"Democrats are pretty passionate in the legislature about community colleges," Murphy says. "I think last year we went higher than (Culver) did as well, so I think we’re going to focus on putting more resources into community colleges."
Murphy and Kibbie aren’t offering a specific amount, but suggest lawmakers will settle on something closer to the 14-million dollar spending hike community colleges received last year. Culver recommended a 5.5 million dollar increase.