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Iowans voice concern on cuts to environment, abuse victims, education programs

Iowans packed a committee room at the Capitol Monday to protest millions of dollars in cuts to state services and programs as lawmakers seek to finalize a $7.2 billion budget.

"This isn’t about being fiscally responsible or fiscally conservative," said Melissa Holst, an Urbandale resident. "This is about being shortsighted and mean spirited. Because most of the cuts that are happening are not going to affect the Republican legislators. They’re going to affect the poor. They’re going to affect people of color. They’re going to affect women. They’re going to affect students, the elderly, the disabled, people with mental health problems – and they need help."

Revenue coming into the state in 2017 did not keep pace with projections, and lawmakers found they had committed to about $250 million in overspending.

Legislators borrowed about $131 million from the state's emergency cash reserve funds to help cover the shortfall, and they've promised to repay at least $20 million of that in 2018. About $118 million in cuts to the 2017 budget will carry forward into 2018. The budget plan unveiled last week also calls for another $14 million in spending cuts.

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