Selling state assets

Governor Culver has said in tough times, it makes sense to consider selling state assets to help see the state through the current budget crisis.  He uses a plural word there — assets.  But the only asset discussed, to date, has been the Iowa Lottery.

So what might this list of assets (plural), include?  Republicans like Senator Paul McKinley, the minority leader in the state senate, say it makes business sense in tough times to dump/sell assets which are a drain on the state budget.  (McKinley, by the way, says it makes no sense to dump a "revenue-producing" state asset like the Iowa Lottery.)

I've asked a spokesman in the governor's office, via email, for a list of other assets Governor Culver is considering for the auction block.  He hasn't replied yet, so in the meantime, let's you and I come up with a list. 

1.  Terrace Hill, the governor's mansion, sits on some prime real estate in Des Moines. Terrace Hill is a Victorian-era structure which takes lots of cash to maintain.  Perhaps the state could reap a tidy profit by selling the mansion. I'll readily concede it's probably not a good idea, given the post-9/11 security involved, so on to other ideas. 

2. How about that Frank Lloyd Wright house the state owns in northeast Iowa?  Could the state sell that for a profit? 

3. It used to be a favorite topic of some Republican legislators, but no one's talking about selling the state's fiber optic network anymore.  Is it obsolete?  Is it worth anything?  Is it worth selling and getting the cash rather than spending the cash to update it every few years?

4. What are your ideas? 

Finally, on a sort of related topic since it's about gambling, you might be interested in what's happening in Kentucky. Casino interests are asking the Kentucky legislature to pass a law that would allow the eight race tracks there to operate casinos — with video terminals for gaming.

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About O.Kay Henderson

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


  1. Naming rights for children of legislators.
    Auto wraps on all state vehicles (those ad-encased cars you see once in awhile). Why not have the governor’s fleet making us $400/month/car?
    Lease the capitol and gov’s mansion to private donors for 49 years. Allow the private company to charge admission to elected officials and the state can tax those fees at 22%.