2018 Budget Showdown Expected Next Week

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DES MOINES, Iowa -- A showdown looms in what senators believe will be the last week of the session as republicans say they're trying to spend 14 million dollars less in 2018 than in 2017’s budget. Republicans say they're trying to create a responsible plan going forward while democrats call the proposed cut "awful".

“This has been cut after cut after cut, and now we have another round of cuts” said Senate Democratic Leader Rob Hogg.

After making 118 million dollars in emergency cuts this year republicans say cutting the budget now will avoid another emergency budget reduction.

“We think that's a number is realistic, we think that number gives our departments and our programs a budget that they know they can rely on next year so we don't have to come in and do a deappropriation like we did this year” said Republican Senator Charles Schneider.

From there things move into the realm of speculation; in appropriation meetings legislators have proposed to keep judicial branch funding at the same level it was in 2017 which forced the department into hiring freezes.

The department issued a memo today saying layoffs and reduced hours are on the table if the proposal goes through.

Democrats say the shortfall won’t stop there.

“Really bad cuts in the area of water quality and natural resources, there's some belief that they may have to close a couple state parks because of what they're doing, they're cutting the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture at Iowa State, that's really bad” said Hogg.

Republicans say revenue hasn't kept up with revenue projections, and blames that on the agriculture economy.

“Even our manufacturing relies on the strength of our agricultural sector and with the price of corn and beans the way they are now, farmers aren't really making any money” said Schneider.

He says less money for farmers equals less income tax for the state. Democrats however, say something else is to blame.

“After six years of leadership by Governor Branstad and Lt. Governor Reynolds, they've made too many bad budgeting decisions, given away far too many tax credits to big businesses that didn't need them” said Hogg.

While the argument over what’s to blame for Iowa’s revenue growth goes back and forth, the reality is now legislators have to work with what they have.

“That means we have to make some difficult choices along the way” said Schneider.

Republicans say one thing that won't get touched is K-12 education. They say they will keep the 40 million dollar promise they made to public schools earlier in the year.

Senator Schneider expects both houses to take up a full budget bill next week.