A glance at the proposed state budget - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

A glance at the proposed state budget


A glance at Iowa Gov. Culver's proposed budget

By The Associated Press

Here are highlights of a proposed budget Gov. Chet Culver sent the Legislature for the year beginning July 1:


Total state spending would be $6.210 billion, compared to the $6.298 billion in the current year. That's $400 million less than the budget had been projected to grow under spending plans already on the books, a 6.5 percent reduction.


A series of programs are exempt from the full force of the spending cuts, including corrections and public safety, disaster relief, victim's compensation and workforce development. They could see reductions smaller than 6.5 percent.


A long-term package increasing teacher pay is exempt, as are efforts to improve preschool programs. A scheduled 4 percent increase in basic state assistance to local schools would be reduced to 2 percent. Schools could either accept that reduction or make it up with local property taxes.


There are no tax increases in the proposed budget, and the governor said he opposes an increase of the gasoline tax. The governor would limit a series of tax credits to generate just over $30 million.


Culver is transferring $56 million from the state's economic emergency fund to balance this year's budget, and would dip into other reserves for a total of $216.5 million for next year's budget.


Budget experts in March will issue a new projection of how deeply the recession is cutting into state revenues, and lawmakers will wait to see how much the state will get from Congress in disaster relief and economic stimulus spending. Congress is also considering a measure to help states pay for the Medicaid program that offers health care to poor and elderly people.


Culver asked the Legislature to borrow $700 million to pay for flood relief and repairs to the state's infrastructure. The money would be repaid over 20 years with the state's profit from the gambling industry.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

APNP-01-28-09 1220CST

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