UPDATE: about 180 layoff notices approved today

Here’s the latest information from Governor Chet Culver’s staff regarding the budget reductions in the executive branch the governor approved today.  Click here to read the spreadsheets.  Short version:  about 180 layoff notices will go out as a result of today’s action.

The governor, as you may know, hopes to avoid massive layoffs in the Departments of Corrections & Public Safety by reopening union contracts and renegotiating wages.  In addition, Culver has ordered the 3258 executive branch employees who are NOT covered by a union contract to take seven days off, without pay, between now and June 30.

UPDATE: a few statements have been issued this afternoon & early this evening.  Read the written words of AFSCME Council 61 president Danny Homan; Republican legislative leaders & the lone Republican gubernatorial candidate who issued a statement this evening  (it wasn’t from the guy who’s been governor before, BTW).

Statement by Danny Homan, President of AFSCME Iowa Council 61 on Request by Governor Culver to Reopen State Worker Contract

“Late yesterday afternoon, AFSCME Iowa Council 61, which represents over 21,000 Iowans who are state government employees, received a request by the Governor of Iowa to reopen contract negotiations with the state of Iowa for the purpose of conducting substantive negotiations that may favorably affect the implementation of budget reductions.

“AFSCME Iowa Council 61, through its bargaining chairs, has agreed to meet with the Governor to begin holding discussions for the sole purpose of reducing layoffs.  Any decisions that are made regarding the contract must first be agreed to by the AFSCME State Bargaining Chairs, then will be reviewed by the entire Bargaining Committee, and then any changes will have to be voted on by state worker AFSCME membership and approved by them to take effect.

“We are unsure of where these talks will lead, other than to say AFSCME will do its part to consider all options that are put on the table.  According to Iowa law, these discussions will be done in private.  AFSCME Iowa Council 61 will have no public comment on any of the discussions being held between the AFSCME and the State of Iowa until that process is concluded.”

(DES MOINES)—Today House Republican Leader Kraig Paulsen (R-Hiawatha) issued the following statement in response to the governor’s budget plans:

“If the governor had not signed the largest budget in the history of the state, we would not be in this fiscal mess.

“Adding to our problems, I am concerned about the lack of leadership from the governor’s office on the $250 million tax increase that he has pushed on the backs of Iowa property taxpayers.  Now is certainly not the time to be raising taxes.

“A year ago House Republicans undertook the job of diving in to the state’s budgets to try to find efficiencies and savings.  We will continue our efforts of a line-by-line review of state spending, offering positive solutions to bring the budget back in check.”

DES MOINES, IA – Senate Republican Leader Paul McKinley (R-Chariton) issued the following comment today regarding Governor Culver’s budget actions leading to higher property taxes for Iowans:

“Republicans have consistently and continually issued warnings about the dangers of Governor Culver and legislative Democrats’ overspending. As a result, the taxpayers of Iowa will suffer the consequences of much higher property taxes and a government less focused on the real priorities of Iowa’s citizens.

“Governor Culver chose not to make the difficult decisions, he chose to ignore the taxpayers and the warnings from Republicans in the Legislature and has instead chosen to once again increase taxes at a time when Iowans can least afford it. Iowa now faces two deficits: a deficit over one billion dollars from overspending and a deficit of leadership from a governor not interested in making the tough decisions.”

DES MOINES – Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob Vander Plaats issued the following statement in response to Gov. Chet Culver’s layoff of employees in 28 state agencies, week-long unpaid furlough of 3,258 state workers and his postponement of a decision on cuts in the Department of Public Safety and Department of Corrections:

“There’s a saying that goes something like, ‘A lack of planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on mine.’ Unfortunately, Chet Culver’s lack of planning and his utter failure of leadership have created a painful and totally avoidable emergency on the part of hundreds of state employees and their families.  Today’s action is the result of the 10-percent, across-the-board cut that he mandated to reduce spending by $565 million. But the fact is he’s recklessly increased spending by more than $1 billion over the past two years.

“The departments of Public Safety and Corrections face the lay-off of a combined 568 employees and the elimination of another 291 open positions. I’ve said before that these deep cuts affect the safety of the people we expect to protect the general public as well as Iowans in general. There’s another point that needs to be made: Those two departments that provide essential services are being forced to make deep cuts to make up for the massive number of non-essential workers Chet Culver hired these past two years.

“When you set priorities, you begin with essential services. You protect people who work in the most dangerous situations to ensure Iowans are safe. Chet Culver needs to learn how to set priorities. Just because he’s delayed a final decision on cuts in public safety and corrections personnel doesn’t mean he’s being deliberate or effective.  It simply means he’s dragging out an already bad and unavoidable situation of his own creation.”

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About O.Kay Henderson

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


  1. Karl Schilling says

    It’s not fair to ask the state employees to bear the burden of the budget shortfall. The services they provide are needed more than ever. If the unions agree to concessions the contract negotiations become meaningless and legislators and the governor are encouraged to take that easy way out again and again. As painful as it will be, the unions have to opt for lay offs over concessions, otherwise,yes, there will be more jobs, but none worth having. State employees should share the burden, but through a modest increase in sales taxes. That burden would be shared by all Iowans, not just the ones providing the services. This should be followed by a serious look at the tax credits that have been granted to see if those credits really serve the public interest.