Culver unveils details of state budget

Governor Chet Culver held a news conference this morning in his statehouse office to talk about the budget details he formally presented to lawmakers. Here's a link to the documents if you want to scroll through/see for yourself. 

Culver spoke for the first 18 minutes of the news conference, then his staff got him out of the room and chief of staff Charlie Krogmeier and Dick Oshlo of the Iowa Department of Management answered reporters' questions for another 25 minutes. I wrote "got him out of the room" in that sentence as Culver seemed to bristle with anger when Des Moines Register columnist David Yepsen asked a question at about 15 minutes into the news conference.  The text of that exchange is below.

There was great media interest in the news conference (plus several statehouse lobbyists stopped in the office and picked up the budget documents before 10 o'clock).  The news conference was scheduled to begin at 10 o'clock, but it began several minutes late. There were so many cameras and recorders that the eight plugs/spaces available in the mult box (a mult box provides a "multiple" feed of audio) were full, so the three radio folks covering the event put microphones on cast-iron stands and placed these on the lectern. 

Troy Price, one of the governor's communications specialists, asked a young woman on the governor's staff why the bigger mult-box (the one with more than eight spaces) had not been set up.  She said the governor's office didn't have the batteries required for its operation.  After a few minutes, it appears an extension cord was acquired and this alternate mult box was installed.  The audio level was tested and the box was not working appropriately, so all the TV stations with their cameras in the back of the room put their microphones and microphone stands up on the lectern, too.

At this point, Troy Price of the governor's office re-entered the room and the original, smaller mult box/audio feed with just eight spaces was reinstalled.  Not all the microphones disappeared from the lectern, however, and Price asked the crowd of reporters if more microphones could be removed.

"Our sound is more important than having space so the governor can flip the pages in his three-ring binder," one female radio reporter (who was not me) advised.

Governor Culver was apparently standing just behind the door in the room which leads into the outer office.  Culver opened the door and poked his head into the room. "What's that Jeneane?" Culver asked.  There was laughter. 


Troy Price and Phil Roeder, the governor's communications director, rearranged the microphones so there was more space for Culver's papers.  Culver entered the room.  You can listen to the entire news conference here (and read the Radio Iowa story as well.) 

Here's the exchange between Des Moines Register columnist David Yepsen and Governor Culver which happened 15 minutes into the news conference.

Yepsen: "Do you feel you're going deep enough here?  Do you anticipate this being the end of it?  If you're allowed to cut, deep, that is making it worse or are you going to be back here…"

Culver:  "I don't know how much further you want us to go, David."

Yepsen:  "No, I'm asking you how, how…"

Culver:  "We've, we've cut $580 million.  It represents the largest cut in decades, if not ever."

Yepsen:  "Is this the end of it?  Do you anticipate having to go more?"

Culver:  "I expect this six and a half percent cut will help us balance the budget in 2010, yes.  I believe the $580 million in cuts is the right thing to do, otherwise I wouldn't propose a budget that doesn't balance.

Yepsen:  "So you don't think the economy's going to get any worse and you're going to be back here having to make cuts?"

Culver:  "I, I.."

At this point, the cell phone of Associated Press reporter Mike Glover rings.

Culver: "…can't predict what's going to happen, but I do not anticipate coming back and making changes.  I am proposing a budget that will balance in 2010, that will leave a balance of $273 million. This is not a game. We're not, we're doing what we have to do, by law, to balance the budget.  We're not anticipating coming back. We're doing the responsible thing and to suggest that six and a half percent is not enough, which represents perhaps the largest cut in the history of our state, coupled with the $180 million, is just wrong."

Phil Roeder: "Governor, you have time for one more and they can have Dick and Charlie here all day."

Listen to that exchange here (mp3 runs 1 minute, 30 seconds.


Print Friendly, PDF & Email
About O.Kay Henderson

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