Democratic legislative leaders and Governor Chet Culver have yet to strike a final deal on overall spending in the next state budget.  “We’re making real progress. That’s the good news is we’re on our way towards adjournment. We’re on our way to trying to find agreement on the budget,” Culver says, “so it’s going very, very well.”

Culver and his fellow Democrats in the legislature have not aired their differences in public. For example, Culver will not reveal just how far apart the executive and legislative branches are in terms of spending. “There are still a couple of appropriations bills where there are some fair questions,” Culver says.

And there’s no agreement, yet, on a controversial bill that would expand the union bargaining rights of public employees. “And I’ll let you know if and when we’ve got any news on that front,” Culver told reporters midday Tuesday.

“I’ll take the time necessary to make the best decision on behalf of all Iowans and I think people can also appreciate we have a few other things going on right now that we’re trying to wind up,” Culver says. “So I feel good on all fronts and you know we’re getting closer by the minute to adjournment, one way or the other.”

Senate Democratic Leader Mike Gronstal of Council Bluffs says working through differences between the Democrats who control the legislature and their Democratic governor. “We’re making great progress on every front,” Gronstal says.

Today — Tuesday, April 22 — is the 100th day of the 2008 legislative session. It’s the targeted date for adjournment but lawmakers have not completed work on a variety of fronts, namely coming up with a final budget plan.