Keokuk, IA – Opinions about Iowa's budget vary greatly in Des Moines.
Some lawmakers will tell you that the spending plan has a $250,000 surplus. Others says it is $1,000,000,000 in the red.
Former Governor Terry Branstad and State Auditor David Vaudt agree with the latter. They held a "Truth in Budgeting" hearing for about 70 audience members in Keokuk.
Branstad says Iowa's budget relies, too heavily, on temporary funding. He says that can be addressed by reducing state government, though not in an "across-the-board" approach.
"You need to be more selective and you need to set priorities," said Branstad. "Since education gets over 60% of the state budget, it gets over 60% of the cut. I would eliminate lower priority programs so you do a better job of protecting higher priority programs like education."
Branstad says the lower-priority programs would be identified during a full review of state government. He says the state should also look at a 2-year budget to better track spending.