A top Democrat in the Iowa House says one of Governor Culver’s key education recommendations is not going to pass. Earlier this month, Culver asked legislators to forward an additional $100 million to Iowa’s K-through-12 schools for the next school year.
House Democratic Leader Kevin McCarthy of Des Moines says he “respects where the governor is coming from” in making this recommendation, but McCarthy says it is probably something the legislature “will not do.” Culver suggested the extra $100 million for schools would come from the state’s cash reserve.
“The reality is is we’re going to need a certain portion of our cash reserves to be able to balance out budget, to be fiscally responsible, and so when we look at our budget this year we are one of the very few states in the country that have a so-called surplus — a reserve fund there — and we’re not going to deplete it, but we may need to tap a couple hundred millions dollars of that to balance our budget this year” McCarthy says, “and those dollars will likely be needed to do that.”
Another of Culver’s recommendations isn’t getting much traction either. Culver has called on legislators to take 50-million dollars out of the “Road Use Tax Fund” where gas taxes are deposited and use that money to finance operations of the Iowa State Highway Patrol. Culver argues it’s a small portion of the fund, which is reserved for road and bridge construction and maintenance, and the patrol fits the fund’s ultimate goal of providing safe roads. McCarthy isn’t ruling out the idea, but he’s not suggesting it’ll pass either.
“It looks to be extremely challenging to find consensus on (the idea) at this time,” McCarthy says. “…But it’s still on the table.”