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IA Lawmakers Keep Commitment To Renewable Energy

January 9, 2009, 10:20 AM

Top Democratic lawmakers say they want to keep intact programs that promote renewable energy in Iowa, despite a projected budget shortfall that could top $600 million.

Democratic leaders say the programs, including the $100 million Iowa Power Fund, should be largely spared from budget cuts. But a top Republican says the fund should face the same scrutiny as other areas of the budget when the Legislature convenes Monday.

Slumping tax revenue already has forced Governor Chet Culver to order cuts in spending for the current fiscal year.

Senate Majority Leader Michael Gronstal says spending now on energy programs will reap huge benefits in the future. But House Minority Leader Kraig Paulsen says Republicans want to scrutinize every part of the budget to make sure money is being spent wisely.

Paulsen also says the state shouldn't solely focus on renewable energy and instead provide a climate that encourages businesses to invest in Iowa.

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