Iowa universities shoulder most of Republican-backed $35M midyear budget cuts

Iowa Republicans have finalized mid-year cuts of more than $35 million to the state’s $7.2 billion budget.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa Republicans finalized mid-year cuts of more than $35 million to the state’s $7.2 billion budget on Wednesday night.

The University of Iowa and Iowa State University will shoulder most of the cuts, at around $11 million, which means tuition increases for students.

A program that helps businesses expand will lose $10 million. An agency that oversees health services will see a reduction of $4.3 million.

Corrections will lose $3.4 million. Senator Chaz Allen, D-Newton, warned that Iowa prisons might grow more crowded while staffing would be reduced.

The budget for community colleges will be reduced by $500,000.

Despite Democrats’ warnings, Republicans say that the budget is fiscally responsible.

“Let me be clear: Iowa is in sound financial shape. Revenues are growing, just not as quickly as anticipated,” said Senate President Charles Schneider, R-West Des Moines.

The spending reductions are needed to balance the state’s $7.2 billion budget for the fiscal year ending June 30 because of a shortfall in state revenue.

The GOP-controlled Senate voted 28-21 for the budget cuts through June. The Republican-majority House voted for the same plan Tuesday. It now heads to GOP Gov. Kim Reynolds.

Read more on the cuts and what they could mean at The Des Moines Register.