HEADLINES : Iowa
Branstad wants lawmakers to get budget done
DES MOINES -- Senate GOP Leader Jerry Behn of Boone describes the split-control Legislature's difficulty in shutting down its session for a second straight year as "limping" to the finish.
Gov. Terry Branstad said he doesn't want "a repeat of last year when it drug on and on" for 172 days before a June 30 agreement was reached and lawmakers adjourned hours ahead of a potential government shutdown.
Others worry the situation unfolding at the Statehouse mimics ex-Yankee catcher Yogi Berra's "it's déjà vu all over again" observation as legislators face a third week of overtime work. A fiscal 2013 budget agreement continues to elude them, keeping negotiations in limbo on related reforms in property tax, education and mental health areas.
Top leaders say talks continue to progress, but Sen. Bob Dvorsky, D-Coralville, chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, said there are challenges to keep some issues from moving backward as frustrated lawmakers fail to close the remaining gaps in the overall $6.244 billion general fund budget proposal.