- Associated Press - Tuesday, January 31, 2017

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Republican lawmakers have approved legislation to patch a shortfall in Iowa’s $7.2 billion budget.

The GOP-controlled House voted Monday night for a bill that will cut about $117 million. The Republican-led Senate has already passed the legislation and Gov. Terry Branstad has indicated support.

The reductions require departments to cut about $88 million from the budget that began last July. An additional $25 million would come from various funds and about $4 million would be saved from unused tax credits.

The bill includes an $18 million cut to Iowa’s three public universities and a $3 million cut to Iowa’s Judicial Branch, which oversees courts.

Republicans say the reductions will minimize the shortfall’s impact, but Democrats argue it will hurt critical areas of government.

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