Debate Over State Budget Continues

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DES MOINES, Iowa -- Nearly a month after the 2015 legislative session was scheduled to end, state lawmakers continue to fight over how to spend your tax dollars.

When the house and senate released their target budgets in April, the two sides were about $200 million dollars apart with the senate around $7.3 billion and house around $7.1 billion.

State Senator Matt McCoy says the total number both sides are apart, all items considered is now closer to $100 million with two main issues still on the table.

"We're spending the dollars Iowans have allocated via their taxes for these two particular areas of spending where the vast majority of our spending goes, and that's education and human services (Medicaid),” McCoy told Channel 13 News.

When it comes to education, the house continues to push for a 1.25% increase in allowable growth. The senate is still hoping for 2.625%.

However, McCoy says an agreement could come soon if 1.25% is passed but the house agrees to about $50 million in one-time spending on K-12 education.

"That gives schools about a 2.6% increase in allowable growth. That's what the schools need," said McCoy.

As far as Medicaid, McCoy says the senate is proposing spending about $70 million more than the house.

There are several policy issues still on the table including a fireworks and anti-bullying bill. Both sides agree it's likely both will get pushed to the very end of the session or even into 2016.

"My expectation is that most policy issues will fall off the table because many of those issues passed one chamber and not the other,” said State Senator Pam Jochum, a Democrat from District 50.

Neither side gave a prediction Thursday as to when the session will come to an end.

The 2016 fiscal year begins on July 1st.