Democrats in the Iowa Senate have accepted the five-point-nine billion dollar ceiling Republicans in the House and Governor Branstad have insisted upon for next year’s state budget. It’s a breakthough in the stalemate over state spending that has extended the 2011 legislative session into a seventh week of overtime.
Senate Appropriations Committee chairman Bob Dvorsky, a Democrat from Coralville, has been involved in the behind-the-scenes negotiations. “I think it’s really important that we really get down into some serious negotiations,” Dvorsky says. “And I think that’s what the House and the Senate are interested in doing.”
Legislative leaders met with the governor’s chief of staff and budget director this afternoon. Another private meeting will be held Tuesday. House Speaker Kraig Paulsen, a Republican from Hiawatha, hopes to nail down the details of the budget deal yet this week so the 150-members of the House and Senate can return to Des Moines to ratify the compromise.
“Sooner rather than later and get this done,” Paulsen says. “That would be my hope anyway.”
The next state budgeting year is set to begin on July 1.