A plan to cut more than $100 million out of this year’s state budget is taking up much of the oxygen at the statehouse in the opening days of the legislative session.
As a result, lawmakers are off to a slower start than usual dealing with other bills.
Twenty-two bills on various subjects were introduced into the House today after a full week with no House Files read in.
“It is unusual,” said Republican House Speaker Linda Upmeyer (R-Clear Lake). “Other years we've read them in sooner.”
Upmeyer said she wanted lawmakers to put their focus on the budget first.
“We wanted their attention early on because it involves many departments,” Upmeyer said. “We’ve got a deappropriations bill that we’re taking very seriously.”
Governor Branstad’s plan includes cuts to the Board of Regents, Corrections, Human Services, and other agencies.
Upmeyer says House Republicans agree in principal on their budget-cutting bill but not yet on the details.
“At some point we need to move forward,” Upmeyer said. “We can’t hold up all the committees while we did the deappropriations bill.”
The cuts are needed because this year’s budget was relying on tax receipts which have come in at lower levels than predicted.