UPDATED: Gov. Branstad offers budget with deep cuts - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

UPDATED: Gov. Branstad offers budget with deep cuts

DES MOINES (KWWL) --Governor Terry Branstad is proposing a budget that contains cuts totaling $200 million. When addressing the General Assembly Thursday, Governor Terry Branstad chose not to focus on what he wants to cut from the budget, but rather goals he has for this legislative session

Branstad says this time serving at the state's helm, he'll be faced with a lot of tough decisions. Thursday, he laid out some of what he'd like to see the state do with the budget over the next two years, with the main goal of having a balanced budget that makes Iowa more efficient.

"This budget doesn't solve all of our problems overnight. No budget can. But it puts us on a path of sound budgeting principles. And we must stay on that path by resisting the temptation to push our obligations to the next generation," said Governor Branstad.

As for tangible budget tasks, Branstad's proposing a two-year freeze on education spending and tax cuts on commercial property and on small business income. Both are moves that Republicans feel are needed.

"In one sense, yeah, everybody's going to have to tighten up. But in another sense, it says to the administrators of our schools and educational leaders, let's do what we can to get the best education in Iowa," said Representative Walt Rogers, (R) Cedar Falls.

But Democrats say they'll be anxious to see legislation that directly ties to the governor's proposals.

"Hopefully the body, the legislature in the House, begins to focus on job creation. We've been here a month, and we haven't seen any job bills come before this chamber. So I'm looking forward to that discussion," said Representative Bob Kressing, (D) Cedar Falls.

So now the battle lines are drawn. And it'll be a matter or watching to see what will stay in this budget and what gets cut.

The proposed educational funding freeze could be one of the biggest ongoing debates. The Iowa State Board of education expressed concerns during its meeting Thursday that if the state fails to meet its funding obligations, it could result in a loss of 3500 teachers. Meanwhile, the governor is stepping aside from his party on the matter of preschool funding. While House Republicans have been pushing to eliminate state-funded preschool, Branstad said during his budget address that he supports at least $43 million in preschool funding in each of the next two years.

KWWL Reporter:  Kera Mashek

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