Iowa Senate Democrats have proposed a state budget that’s equal to the amount of spending recommended by Republican Governor Terry Branstad.
Both the governor’s proposal and the plan issued by Senate Democrats call for a $7.341 billion state budget for the fiscal year starting on July 1st. That’s $166 million more than the budget proposed by Republicans in the House.
Senator Bob Dvorsky of Coralville, chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee, said in a statement the Democrat’s budget plan is “sustainable and spends less than the state takes in.” He adds Democrat’s “number one goal is making Iowa’s middle class larger and more secure.”
House Appropriations Chairman Chuck Soderberg, a Republican from Le Mars, responded by saying the Senate Democrats’ budget targets “spend more than the hardworking taxpayers of Iowa are paying.”
The Senate budget plan calls for an increase in state funding of 2.625 percent for K-12 schools, a tuition freeze at state universities for a third consecutive year, and fully funding property tax credits and a commercial property tax cut previously approved by lawmakers.
In addition, the proposal includes an early retirement incentive package for eligible state employees that is projected to save the state $16.1 million in the next fiscal year.