Legislative leaders from both political parties say there’s been progress in state budget negotiations, but a final product is far from ready.
Senate Democratic Leader Mike Gronstal of Council Bluffs says there have been “multiple meetings” of key decision-makers.
“We’ve had, I think, good and frank discussions,” Gronstal says. “I had hoped we’d be close…I don’t know that we are, but we are still meeting and working in good faith and looking for common ground.”
In March, legislators voted to cut taxes. That meant Republican Governor Terry Branstad and Senate Democrats had to lower their overall target for spending in the next state budgeting year to about $7.3 billion.
House Speaker Linda Upmeyer, a Republican from Clear Lake, says Democrats have to decide where they’re willing to cut.
“I think we’re closer than we were a week ago,” Upmeyer says. “I think we are making progress, so I’m going to remain optimistic about the turn out, but we do have to take things off the table that I’m sure they’re prefer not to.”
Governor Branstad submitted a handful of documents to legislators late yesterday, acknowledging the reduced state spending cap — a move required by state law. Branstad said more than $23 million worth of cuts will have to be made in the original budget plan he submitted to legislators in January.
The governor called the cuts “adjustments to be agreed upon” with legislators, but didn’t specify which programs would or should be hit.