Budget Divide at Statehouse - ABC5 News Des Moines, IA

Budget Divide at Statehouse

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By Alex Schuman

aschuman@myabc5.com

House Republicans and Senate Democrats released their budget proposals for 2014 Wednesday.

The difference between the two plans ends up around half a billion dollars.  These numbers are not final, but give you a broad idea of the each parties priorities this session.

Republicans plan to spend about 6.4 billion dollars, which lands a 124 million less than fellow Republican Gov. Terry Branstad, R-IA, proposed in his Condition of the State Address.

Senate Democrats' target budget nearly doubles what the House wanted to spend on agriculture and natural resources, and about 70 million more on education.  In all, Senate Democrats set the state budget at 6.9 billion.

In their plan, Republicans set aside money to keep college tuition from going up and plan to invest in mental health programs.

The specifics still need to be worked out in different committees on both sides. 

"We're trying to expand the middle class," said Sen. Bob Dvorsky, D-Coralville.  "And we have a unique opportunity now with the way revenues are coming in."

House Republicans claim current, "unstable times," mean the state needs to cut back its spending just in case.

"The drought, sequestration, the budget cut, that the federal government is dealing with," said Rep. Chuck Soderberg, R-Le Mars.  "Now is the time be very careful and cautious with the tax payers money."

Branstad's spokesperson will only consider a biennial budget, which lays out spending for two years.

Lawmakers say they are still working on the budget for 2015.

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