Governor Terry Branstad says state budget negotiations have entered a “very delicate” phase.
“The budget is extremely tight,” Branstad told reporters this morning. “We want to work with the legislature in dealing with the financial realities.”
The official estimate of state tax collections for the next year was raised just slightly last week. But, when that is coupled with the nearly $100 million tax break legislators recently voted to give some Iowans, it means the budget plan Branstad prepared in January and the outline Democrats in the Senate have been using must be pared down a bit.
“The bird flu and the reduction in farm income is certainly one of the factors that have made it a more difficult budgeting year,” Branstad said.
The new math required to balance the budget is “a challenge for everybody,” according to Branstad.
“We want to try to work out something that will be a consensus,” Branstad told reporters during his weekly news conference.
Branstad expects an agreement to be worked out “within the near future” on how much state money to forward to Iowa’s public schools. It’s the biggest spending decision of the year for lawmakers.