Executive branch budget cut details released

At 12:21 p.m. this afternoon Governor Chet Culver’s staff released details of the 10 percent budget cut directors of executive branch agencies have drafted for each agency.  Here’s the link. Bottom line:  1321 positions eliminated, leading to 791 layoffs as the other 529 positions are currently vacant — unfilled by a real, live person who would have to be fired.  The Department of Corrections is scheduled to have the highest amount of layoffs.  The reason:  almost all the funding for that department comes from the state’s general fund.  Other agencies get money from the federal government, for example, and can keep people whose positions are financed with federal funds.

Here’s a news release issued by the governor’s office, including a written statement from the governor:


DES MOINES – Preliminary plans on how state executive branch departments implement a ten percent across-the-board budget cut were released this morning. The plans are in response to an order by Governor Chet Culver to cut state government spending by ten percent, or nearly $565 million, after the Revenue Estimating Conference projected earlier this month an 8.4% decline in revenue for the current fiscal year.

The preliminary plans include a proposed reduction of 1,321 state government positions, including 791 layoffs and eliminating 529 vacant positions. The plans released today do not include the Board of Regents, statewide elected officials, and the Legislative and Judicial branches. Departmental plans are to be finalized by Wednesday, October 28.

Governor Culver issued the following statement about the preliminary departmental plans:

“It is very important to note that this is the starting line, not the finish line, to implement cuts made necessary by the impact of the national economic recession. As Governor, my obligation is to keep our budget balanced and my goal is to do everything we can to preserve essential services and minimize layoffs.

“During the next seven days, we will review these plans, discuss the impact with the collective bargaining units, and work with our department directors to finalize how we implement these cuts. The plans for each department, in their final form, will become effective upon my approval. I’ve set October 28 as that deadline.

“Like all state departments, the Governor’s office will be cutting its budget by ten percent and has submitted our own plan. I have decided to take a ten percent cut in pay, my Chief of Staff has done the same, and our entire staff will take up to seven furlough days.

“I disagree with certain recommendations in these preliminary plans, and I will discuss them with department directors and the collective bargaining units as part of my review. I also want to be certain that there are no inconsistencies between these plans and what our departments are required to do by law.

“In particular, I disagree with some recommendations that cut services to children and vulnerable adults, as well as in areas of public safety. These cuts have a very disproportionate impact on public safety, an area I vowed to protect. For example, two-thirds of layoffs are in the Department of Corrections, which relies almost entirely on support from the General Fund, and I want to find a way to mitigate that situation.”

The union which represents that largest share of state workers issued a written statement, about half an hour before the governor’s office released the documents mentioned above.  Read the union’s statement below:

AFSCME Iowa Council 61 Statement on Layoff Plans

At this time, AFSCME Iowa Council 61 is still reviewing the plans released by the Governor’s office this morning for layoffs in state agencies.  We want to reiterate our expectation that going forward, the State of Iowa should treat this current situation the same as it would a major plant closing, and provide all appropriate support to workers who are being laid off that is available to them.  As AFSCME is a democratic organization, we will not be issuing further comment until such time as the leadership of this Council can meet with our State Bargaining Committee and our Members to discuss these matters further.

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About O.Kay Henderson

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