Pat Grassley

Lawmakers have included a $600,000 cut to the legislative branch of state government in their plan to ax $88 million from the current year’s state budget.

“I think the legislature should share in making sure that the…budget works,” says Representative Pat Grassley, a Republican from New Hartford who is chairman of the House Appropriations Committee.

Republicans serving on committees in both the House and Senate endorsed the overall plan tonight. Democrats on both committees voted against the plan. They criticized Republicans to making cuts to community colleges in particular.

“You have asked nothing of the fat cuts that have benefited from record tax cuts and special give-aways,” said Democratic Senator Joe Bolkcom of Iowa City.

The GOP plan does includes cutting off legislators’ daily expense money 10 days earlier than normal. That would save up to $360,000. Democrats in the senate suggested giving up one more day of expense money, for an additional $36,000 in savings. Republicans on the senate committee rejected that move — saying for “expediency’s sake” they wanted to keep the senate bill identical to the one advancing in the house. The unified GOP plan is now eligible for debate in both the House and Senate. Governor Branstad has indicated he’ll approve it.