Iowa Legislature Enters Second Overtime Week With No State Budget


DES MOINES, Iowa - There's still no budget in place for Iowa, less than two months before one is required.

The state legislature enters its second week in overtime Monday with the Republican majority still trying to hash out differences.

The House is still looking at plans passed by the Senate to speed up income tax cuts, eliminate the state's inheritance tax and cut county property taxes.

Lawmakers are also trying to find common ground on how much money to send to the Department of Corrections and the state's three universities.

House lawmakers have proposed a $21 million boost in funding for the Corrections Department, while the Senate is offering a $6.3 million increase. The corrections budget became a controversial issue this year after two Anamosa State Prison workers were killed during an escape attempt in March.

The plan to speed up tax cuts involves removing benchmarks for state revenues to meet in order to trigger income tax cuts for Iowans that lawmakers put in place in 2018.

County property taxes would be lowered by $100 million through a shift in mental health funding from counties to the state. The House has so far resisted signing on to that move.

Another bone of contention is funding for the Iowa Board of Regents, which governs the state's three public universities. House Republicans want no additional money for the board, and are also proposing a tuition freeze at the schools. Senate Republicans have proposed an $8.2 million increase, which would offset cuts to the universities last year, and no tuition freeze.

Lawmakers have indicated they could finalize a state budget and finish with any other lingering bills and wrap up this year's legislative session by the end of this week.

The session was scheduled to conclude on April 30th, and legislators have been working with no pay since then.