The GOP’s education budget would end state support of two research programs at the state universities.
Republican Representative Cecil Dolecheck of Mount Ayr said the work of the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture at Iowa State University is done when it comes to finding ways to reduce soil erosion and farm chemical run-off.
“Most people would tell you that farmers have been educated to that point, the research has been put in place whether it’s cover crops, waterways, those type of things,” Dolecheck said.
During an interview with reporters on Tuesday, Dolecheck said if the University of Iowa wants to keep the Iowa Flood Center open, administrators can shift funds from elsewhere in the university’s operating budget.
Larry Weber of the Iowa Flood Center said the center provided invaluable projections for Iowans who were bracing for flooding last year. “We shut down a Google Map server because the traffic to the Iowa Flood Center was so intense during the run-up of the crest of the flood coming to Cedar Rapids,” he said, “so many people using that data wanting to see what the extent of the inundated would be, what the water depth on their property would be.”
Weber said the university stands to lose a nearly $97 million federal grant if the state doesn’t provide $1.5 million for the center.
The GOP’s overall plan would reduce the general operating budgets for all three state universities by $32 million compared to the current year. Cuts to the University of Northern Iowa, however, would be about half as much as the spending reductions for Iowa State University and the University of Iowa.
The Republican-led House Appropriations Committee is expected to approve the massive education spending bill sometime today.