Democrats on a senate committee have endorsed two budget bills that outline more than a billion dollars in state spending for the budget year that starts July 1st. One bill would provide $175.5 million to operate the judicial branch of state government. Senator Tom Courtney, a Democrat from Burlington, says most of that money goes to salaries for judges and other court personnel.
This is almost $6 million more than for Fiscal Year 2014, which is about a 3.5 percent increase,” Courtney says.
The plan has already won the approval of the Republican-led Iowa House, however all but one Republican on the Senate Appropriations Committee voted against it. Senator Jake Chapman, a Republican from Adel, says their concern is the overall spending plan House Republicans and Senate Democrats have drawn up calls for a 7.5 percent increase in state spending.
“And I don’t think it is right for us as legislators to be growing government at a faster rate than household income,” Chapman says.
The other bill approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee outlines $986 million in spending on education programs, including the three state universities. A key senator who led drafting of the bill says Democrats and Republicans agree on “90 percent” of the spending outline, but continue to differ on how much to spend on an anti-bullying initiative, on Iowa State University Extension and on the University of Northern Iowa.