Tags: iowa | budget | impasse

Iowa Budget Impasse Has Legislators Stymied

Tuesday, 01 May 2012 09:57 AM

By Greg McDonald

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A suggestion by some Republicans in Iowa that legislators simply exit the state Capitol as a way to end the budget stalemate is raising concerns that such an unlikely scenario could actually happen.
“I’m not in the position where at the moment I’m advocating that, but I’m merely stating that people should acknowledge that is the case,” Republican Sen. Bill Dix told the Des Moines Register Monday.
Dix noted that a government shutdown wouldn’t occur even if the Legislature failed to reach a budget agreement before the new fiscal year begins July 1. That’s because the Iowa legislature last year approved a partial two-year budget pushed by GOP Gov. Terry Branstad that provides funding for many of the state’s critical programs well into the next fiscal year.
But some Republicans believe the party will pick up at least two seats in the state Senate this fall to give them majority control, which could make the task of putting the final touches on the full spending plan for the next fiscal year a lot easier.
Democratic lawmakers are understandably upset at that prospect, according to the Register.
Iowa Senate Majority Leader Michael Gronstal said Republicans who want to go home now “don’t understand that the departments are statutorily required to have a balanced budget, and if we fund it 50 percent, they cannot presume that next January we would come back and do anything.”
Gronstal added nursing homes would likely be affected, as well as public schools that could end up losing teachers unless full funding is in place for next year. Simply going home without a final budget, he said, is “not really a plan that works.”
As it turns out, Branstad agrees. When the governor got word that some in his party were thinking of bolting for the door, he urged them to stay and finish the job — “the sooner the better,” the Register reported.

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