Iowa legislature convenes Monday - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Iowa legislature convenes Monday

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WATERLOO (KWWL) - The start of the next legislative session is Monday and both democrats and republicans are worried most about the budget.

Don McDowell, with the office of Iowa Senate Republican Leader Paul McKinley says the party has three big priorities. He says the first is controlling spending after what he called three years of massive overspending by the governor and legislative Democrats.

The second priority is to get more Iowans into jobs. McDowell says we need to have a reasonable tax and regulatory regime in place that encourages small business, employers and entrepreneurs to invest in our state.

The third focus by republicans will be to focus on property tax relief. McDowell says property taxes are set to rise by $240 to $270 million and will likely see additional hikes. He continues, saying higher taxes, especially property taxes, are a job killer at a time when we need more jobs for Iowans.

The Cedar Valley's democratic delegation agreed that the state budget is the top priority, but there are certain areas they feel are more important to preserve funding.

"That's access to education, healthcare, and the efforts that state government engages in to help create high-wage, high-skill jobs," Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal (D-Council Bluffs) said.

"With the optimism in Des Moines, I think we're going to come out of this one with a different painting at the end of this session and hopefully we can get Iowans on board to realize as Iowans that aint all bad," Rep. Kerry Burt (D-Waterloo) said.

Delegates are optimistic about economic recovery in Iowa. They say this recession is different than earlier recessions, in part, because so many environmentally friendly jobs are being created. The democratic legislators say more job creation ensures future growth for Iowa.

Look for reports from the capitol in Des Moines on KWWL and KWWL.com.

Online Producer: Jason Mortvedt

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