Republicans Scrap Education Gains, Slash Over $100 Million
Des Moines, Iowa – On a straight party line vote, House Republicans slashed over $100 million from an education plan already approved by the Iowa Senate today. Legislators said the latest round of Republican budget cuts in education will slow efforts to grow Iowa’s skilled workforce.
“The Republican bill is a step backwards in our efforts to build a highly-skilled workforce. The budget is a reflection of our priorities and affordable education at our community colleges and higher education institutions is clearly not a priority for House Republicans. As the people of UNI know all too well, chronic cuts in higher education have severe consequences and the Republican education plans will make things even worse,” said Rep. Tyler Olson, Ranking Member of the House Appropriations Committee.
House Republicans scrapped a bill approved by the Iowa Senate and replaced it with their own version, which slashed funding by $115 million for state universities, community colleges, tuition assistance and the Iowa Department of Education. The Senate increased funding for UNI by $8.2 million, funding for UI by $11.8 million, and funding for ISU by $9.2 million. All of those increases were wiped out and replaced with another round of cuts, including $3 million less for UNI, $19 million less for ISU and $30 million less for UI.
“With Iowa students already carrying the 4th highest debt load in the country, the Republican budget puts one more burden on the middle class while putting college out of reach for too many Iowans,” said Rep. Cindy Winckler of Davenport, the lead Democrat on the education budget committee. “The same day the Board of Regents are shutting down programs at UNI because of funding cuts, House Republicans want more of the same next year.”
The bill, Senate File 2321, was passed on a party line vote by the House Appropriations Committee and now goes to the House Floor for consideration.