Partisan sniping resumed at the statehouse this morning, with the two political parties pointing fingers of blame at the other over a stalled education reform plan.
Senator Amy Sinclair, a Republican from Allerton, challenged Democrats to put an offer on the table to counter the proposal Republicans made last week on school financing.
“Bring us a proposal,” Sinclair said. “A counter proposal would provide a broader sense, a better understanding of where each side is headed.”
Sinclair is one of the 10 legislators serving on the conference committee that’s been asked to make a deal on education reform. She said it makes no sense for the committee to meet again today and try to resolve minor policy differences.
“Under normal negotiation circumstances there would be a counter offer to provide a broader proposal that Republicans in the conference committee couuld respond to. At that point, then both sides agree to the broader sense of what can be included in the final bill, then we could address those details, after we see the big picture,” Sinclair said. “This is how effective negotiations can resolve two widely differing proposals. Everybody has to give a little to get a little.”
Senator Steve Sodders, a Democrat from State Center, was next to speak, blasting Republicans for refusing to follow the February deadline for setting state aid for schools.
“I just want to thank the House Republican and the governor’s office for raising property taxes in Marshalltown,” Sodders said. “Had a forum this weekend, talked to my superintendent and because of the inaction and the failure to follow the law on the House part and the governor, they’re going to raise property taxes. That’s what they decided.”
Sodders followed that by complaining about a lack of progress on a different bill, prompting another Republican senator to accuse him of failing to do his homework. Senate Democratic Leader Mike Gronstal of Council Bluffs asked his colleagues to “quit posturing” and lecturing one another.
“Let’s all quit that, and work together,” Gronstal said. “…It is there for the taking — the common ground is there. We can either choose to play politics, or we can work through these things.”
On Wednesday, staff in the governor’s office released a video they’d produced lampooning Democrats in the Senate, accusing them of “jeopardizing” state aid to schools. The governor’s staff used the Jackson 5’s 1970 hit song “ABC” as the soundtrack for their video.