The top Democrat in the Iowa legislature is not optimistic lawmakers can pass a bipartisan plan to spend more state money on water quality initiatives.
Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal today said he and his fellow Democrats want to spend “more” on water quality, but haven’t seen a workable proposal from Republicans.
“Several of the plans we’ve seen are little more than shell games, moving money around,” Gronstal said, “taking money away from somebody for the sake of somebody else.”
In January, Republican Governor Terry Branstad proposed shifting some state tax dollars from school infrastructure projects to water quality programs. Last week House Republicans outlined a different approach, using some state gambling taxes along with $28 million in state sales taxes paid on water usage. Gronstal told reporters today that Democrats are hammering out the final details on their own plan to dedicate “more” state money to water quality projects, although he’s not saying how much more.
“We’re looking at some ideas that would at least, maybe, help us get started on this,” Gronstal said.
Gronstal said key legislators are “working through” a host of budget decisions right now and hope to agree on a state spending plan for the next budgeting year “relatively quickly.”