Negotiations over a new state budget have stalled, again, at the statehouse. Senate Democrats now vow to return to Des Moines next week to approve their own version of a two-year budget.
On Monday, Senate Democratic leaders agreed to Republican demands to spend less than $6 billion on the budget for the 12-month period that begins this July 1. But Jeff Boeyink, the chief of staff for Republican Governor Terry Branstad, is accusing Democrats of violating that pledge during private negotiations.
“In the last two sessions the differences have just gotten broader and larger because the Democrats have come in with new spending proposals in excess of $100 million dollars of money above and beyond what we’ve already agreed to with the House (Republicans),” Boeyink says. “This is the time we need to be narrowing those differences, not exacerbating those differences.”
House Speaker Kraig Paulsen, a Republican from Hiawatha, accuses Democrats of adding too many new items to their spending wish list.
“To fund a campground, to fund trails in Des Moines, to fund a zoo,” Paulsen says. “That’s what this is about, is trying to figure out whether spending more money for a zoo in Des Moines is more important than meeting mental health needs and Medicaid needs in the state of Iowa.”
Democrats say these objections from Republicans are just a smoke-screen to obscure the GOP’s insistence on a “massive” property tax cut for corporations. Senate Democrats say Republicans are “failing to negotiate in good faith” and risking a state government shut-down on July 1, when the new state budgeting year begins.