Gov. Branstad touring state to address budget stalemate
NEW HAMPTON (KWWL) -
We are three weeks and counting as our elected officials are traveling to Des Moines without pay to try and reach a budget. Governor Terry Branstad is touring the state answering questions about the budget stalemate. And he's now hopeful that a budget deal will be reached soon.
Dozens packed the Chickasaw Community Center in New Hampton Monday night to hear Governor Terry Branstad address the ongoing state budget stalemate. The discussion centered on two big issues: the governor's proposal to drop commercial property tax rates and to keep funding for education flat.
"If kids are really a priority, why in the world would anyone suggest that we receive zero percent new monies?" one audience member said.
"Okay. It's zero percent allowable growth, but not zero percent new money because last year, the legislature purposely under funded school aid by $225 million. We are funding that," said Governor Branstad.
Much like the legislature, Iowans also seem to be divided on whether Branstad's proposal to cut commercial property taxes will actually help grow the economy and create jobs. The governor also continues to push for a two-year budget. But now, he's feeling more confident that Democrats and Republicans are starting to compromise to reach a budget deal.
"I think we need to respect and recognize the fact that it's not an easy situation, and we've got to make tough decisions. But we can find ways to adjust and hopefully come to an agreement. I'm hopeful it can be done, and I'd like to see it done in the next couple of weeks," Branstad said.
And if that happens, the state will avoid a government shutdown.
The state legislature is working with a $6 billion budget. It will need to be passed by the end of next month to avoid a government shut down.
The governor and lieutenant governor will continue hosting town hall meetings about the budget with stops in Decorah, Waukon, Elkader, Oelwein and Independence Tuesday.