It's all about the budget; Legislature begins 83rd assembly - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

It's all about the budget; Legislature begins 83rd assembly

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DES MOINES (KWWL) -- A historic year ahead for the Iowa legislature, as it reconvened Monday morning.

Not only do lawmakers have to manage the budget, but they'll have to figure out how to pay for millions of dollars in flood damage at the same time.

Law makers are pledging to work together this session. They all agree there's a big job ahead of them.

House speaker Pat Murphy set the tone for the 83rd general assembly. It will be a year about the budget, with hundreds of million dollars less than last year.

"It won't be easy; the cupboard is almost bare," said Speaker of the House Pat Murphy (D-Dubuque)  "It may not be our fault, but we need to deal with it, and we need to address it by balancing the budget before we adjourn. If we put aside our differences, I think we can work together to make a better state, and move the state forward."

"We need to move quickly; put some proposals together," said Rep. Bob Kressig (D-Cedar Falls).  "The rainy day funds we have there a piece that fits those disasters, so hopefully we'll move forward on that."

While democrats hold clear majorities in both chambers, both sides pledged bipartisanship in tough economic circumstances.

"Mister speaker, the blame game serves no one wrong," said house Minority Leader Kraig Paulsen (R-Hiawatha).  "My pledge is this: as long as we can move forward and work towards solutions, I have no interest in laying blame."

With US senator Chuck Grassley in attendance in the house sitting next to his grandson, lawmakers are asking the federal government to do its part in rebuilding efforts.

"I don't think the state will be able to do everything people would like, nor are the feds" said Sen. Robert Dvorsky (D-Coralville).  "But, I think working with the feds will be able to come up with something and try and help people recover."

Tuesday Governor Chet Culver will give his condition of the state address, where he'll outline his agenda for next year.

Online Reporter:  Bob Waters

Online Producer:  Dani Blecha

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