Education, Mental Health Slashed with Veto Pen

Jul 2, 2015

Governor Branstad Thursday vetoed millions of dollars in state spending the legislature approved last month, saying some of the appropriations are unsustainable. 

He trimmed back the more than seven billion dollar state budget for the fiscal year that started this week. 

The vetoes cut education spending for K-12 schools, community colleges, and the Regents Universities.  

Education advocates call the K-12 cuts shameful.   Regents President Bruce Rastetter says they’ll begin considering what tuition levels should be next spring. 

As expected, the governor vetoed funds to keep the state mental health institutes in Mount Pleasant and Clarinda open.   That seals the deal for the facilities which were effectively shut down this week.  

The head of the state’s largest public employees union says he is considering going to court over the closings.

A hard-won agreement would have kept Mount Pleasant open as a state institution for at least another year.   Mount Pleasant Senator Rich Taylor says, for the governor it’s “my way or the highway.”

Other policy provisions fell victim, including a proposal to require insurance companies to provide consumers with more information about their options.  The governor calls that cumbersome.

The governor also vetoed a Democratic initiative to mandate more staff at the state’s prisons.  In his veto message, Branstad sa staffing levels should depend on the money available.  

Also, the governor declined to sign a plan to divert court fees to a special fund for judges’ salaries.   The governor had recommended a raise for judges out of the state’s general fund.