Republicans in the Iowa Senate have sent the House a plan that cuts the current year’s state budget — to prevent a looming deficit. Republican Senator Mark Chelgren of Ottumwa called the $88.2 million in cuts the “appropriate” way to fix a “mess.”
“We’ve come in here surgically to make sure that certain areas aren’t affected,” Chelgren says.
Democrats like Senator Rob Hogg of Cedar Rapids complain the plan cuts too deeply into budgets for the community colleges and the state universities in Ames, Cedar Falls and Iowa City.
“This is a bad budget that does real harm to Iowans,” Hogg said.
Senator Herman Quirmbach, a Democrat from Ames, complained the budget for the governor’s office wasn’t touched by the cuts.
“Not one single dime of sacrifice from the governor’s office,” Quirmbach said. “He doesn’t have to give up so much as a flower pot.”
Criticism of previous state spending on decorative flower pots was featured in campaign ads for some Republican senate candidates last fall. Senator Julian Garrett, a Republican from Indianola, accused Democrats of offering “miniscule” cuts today to resolve the current budget dilemma.
“We have a reasonable proposal here that does solve the problem we’re in,” Garrett said.
State tax revenues are growing this year, but not as much as previously predicted — forcing this budget-cutting debate at the statehouse. This plan will be voted upon in the Republican-led Iowa House on Monday. Governor Branstad has indicated to legislators that he’ll approve it.