Rick Bertrand

Administrators at the University of Iowa and Iowa State University must cut nearly $11 million in spending between now and June 30.

Republicans in the Iowa Senate tonight sent the governor a package of state budget cuts to avoid a deficit caused by lower-than-expected state tax revenue.

Democrats like Senator Joe Bolkcom of Iowa City railed against the cuts at the two public universities.

“Despite the Regents only representing approximately seven percent of the state general fund this puts over 44 percent of tje proposed general cuts on the backs of Iowa State kids and kids that go to the University of Iowa,” Bolkcom said.

Senator Rick Bertrand, a Republican from Sioux City, responded.

“Senator Bolkcom, doom and gloom,” Bertrand said. “…It’s the old playbook of, you know, you’re talking about scaring ’em. Iowans are smart enough to understand how it works down here.”

Bertrand said with tax collections falling below expectations, lawmakers have to “reel it back” and make cuts in the state budget.

The budget-cutting package outlines nearly $25 million in spending reductions to the universities as well as the Department of Human Services, courts, prisons and other state agencies. Another $10 million in unspent economic development awards is being used to cover the state budget shortfall and create a “cushion” in the bottom line in case state taxes fall farther below predictions.