Explaining the Iowa Values Fund

Chet Culver has now joined with Ed Fallon in an all-out assault on Mike Blouin’s stewardship of the Iowa Values Fund. You can watch IPTV’s Iowa Press tonight at eight to see & hear some of the rhetoric. (I’m sure you read the story I wrote this afternoon already.) After each candidate appeared on IPTV set, they walked down to meet with reporters who were in the building watcing the show as it was taped.

Culver cited numbers on the Values Fund businesses that were included in a story on WHO-TV last night. Blouin cited general numbers on the Values Fund businesses while he was on the show, but during the Q&A he told reporters didn’t know the specific job-creation data because he hasn’t worked at the IDED for 10 months.

The main issue here is the claim Blouin and Governor Tom Vilsack make about the number of jobs "created or retained" by the businesses which receive Values Fund grants. The two have been pegging that total at 25,000 jobs, but Fallon has been hammering away at that for months and now Culver, too, is ridiculing the 25,000 number. Both Fallon & Blouin say a fraction of Iowa Values Fund "created or retained" jobs are on-line today.

"These are not rewards for having done something," Blouin told reporters as he was asked about the Values Fund record. "These are incentives to affect behavior."

The Culver camp says Blouin continues to misrepresent job-creation claim in a campaign ad and on his website.

As I was thinking about this, it reminded me of the kid who promises to clean his room. Upon parental inspection a few hours later, it is discovered the room is partially clean — perhaps the bed has been made and some toys have put away but the closet remains a dump and the aquarium hasn’t been cleaned as directed. Does that mean the room is clean? Does it mean the kid will eventually clean the room?

That’s sort of what’s at work here. The businesses which got the grants promise to create jobs but have either failed to do so the moment Fallon & Culver come in to check, or they’re created some jobs but not all of the jobs. And the business may ultimately fail to create all the jobs it promised, just like that kid who promied to clean his room may get side-tracked.

Blouin suggested that "instead of drop-kicking the program" Culver should focus on making the program work.

On another note, I just listened again to Blouin’s Q&A with reporters to count how many times Blouin used a phrase to suggest "Chet doesn’t understand" or "He clearly doesn’t understand what’s he’s talking about." Tom Vilsack frequently suggests those who oppose his ideas "don’t understand" what he’s proposed, which statehouse reporters consider code for Vilsack suggesting his opponents are too stupid to know better or they haven’t done the homeowrk Vilsack’s done on the issue. Blouin, by the way, accused Culver of not understanding something six times in a seven-and-a-half minute streth. And of course there’s the chetnotstupid website, which everyone suspects was created by Blouin’s camp.

If you hear Culver’s comments on one of our Radio Iowa affiliates, you may notice that he had a cough drop in his mouth when he talked with reporters. Upon questioning, Culver revealed he has a cold.

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About O.Kay Henderson

O. Kay Henderson is the news director of Radio Iowa.