DES MOINES (AP) — Republican lawmakers have approved legislation to patch a shortfall in Iowa’s $7.2 billion budget.
The GOP-controlled House voted Monday night for a bill that will cut about $117 million. The Republican-led Senate has already passed the legislation and Gov. Terry Branstad has indicated support.
The reductions require departments to cut about $88 million from the budget that began last July. An additional $25 million would come from various funds and about $4 million would be saved from unused tax credits.
The bill includes an $18 million cut to Iowa’s three public universities and a $3 million cut to Iowa’s Judicial Branch, which oversees courts.
“While this was a painful process, it was necessary in order to balance the budget for this year,” said Rep. Greg Heartsill, R-Columbia. “One small consolation is that we were able to hold K-12 public education harmless during this process and the cuts that were eventually agreed to were a lot less than what the Governor originally proposed.”
Republicans say the reductions will minimize the shortfall’s impact, but Democrats argue it will hurt critical areas of government.