Thanksgiving week left-overs

Read below for tidbits about John Carlson, Swati Dandekar, Ali Glisson, Michael Kiernan, (former Governor) Terry Branstad, (current Governor) Chet Culver, and others. 

The Legislative Services Agency issued a financial analysis on Wednesday, outling the depth of the budget problems legislators and the governor face.  Read the story Rod Boshardt of The Cedar Rapids Gazette wrote here  and/or read the story Jason Clayworth of The Des Moines Register wrote.

A flurry of written statements were issued via email on Wednesday afternoon.  Read them below.

(DES MOINES)-House Republican Leader Kraig Paulsen (R-Hiawatha) released the following statement today in regards to the Fiscal Year 2011 General Fund Budget Projection by the nonpartisan Legislative Services Agency:

“The projections released today reaffirm what House Republicans have been saying for the past two years, the irresponsible spending by legislative Democrats has left Iowans with a $1 billion problem.  The government has spent too much, cut too little and borrowed even more which has caused the budget mess Iowa is currently in.

“Iowa does not have a revenue problem, it has a spending problem.  House Republicans will continue to offer sensible cost-saving measures and stand firm against increased government spending and any form of a tax increase.”

(URBANDALE) – Gov. Terry Branstad today released the following statement in response to the Legislative Service Agency’s budget projection showing the state with a record $1.07 billion budget gap:

“Today’s dismal budget projection confirms what we’ve known all along, and what the governor and legislative Democrats have ignored while they continued to spend us into record budget gaps.

“This budget mess is self-inflicted, and the blame lies squarely with this governor.

“We need leadership in the governor’s office that will put an end to budget practices that raise property taxes and plunge us into debt.

“This is a stark contrast to the $900 million surplus we left at the end of my final term as governor. This current level of spending is not sustainable and we must return to pay-as-you go budgeting with regard to the state’s finances.”

Troy Price, Governor Chet Culver’s press secretary, issued the following statement via email:

“This is just one estimate and it is an estimate on spending only, nothing more. It is premature to speculate on the FY11 budget until the REC gives its official projection on FY11 revenues, which won’t happen until next month. 

“The Governor has said all along that Fiscal year 2011 will be difficult.  But, this estimate assumes that we will spend our way into this gap. The Governor will not do it. He has made the tough decisions this year, and he is prepared to do it again. The bottom line is Governor Culver will submit and sign a balanced budget. Plain and simple.

“It’s easy for Rep. Paulsen and his dour band of Republicans to criticize from the sidelines, but Governor Culver has done the hard work and made the difficult decisions to keep our budget balanced. 

Statement of Iowa Democratic Party Chairman Michael Kiernan

DES MOINES, IA – “Terry Branstad lost all credibility on the state budget when he ran up a deficit of nearly half a billion dollars, then kept two sets of books to hide it.

“When Branstad finally had to confront the deficit, he raised the sales tax to cover the massive shortfall.  None of his responses to the deficit were fiscally responsible.

“Branstad’s own Republican auditor, Richard Johnson, now a strong Bob Vander Plaats supporter, excoriated Branstad for his faulty accounting, saying the budget was not being managed in a reasonable manner.

“This week I am giving thanks we have a Governor who is willing to make the tough choices, hold the line on not raising taxes, and be honest with Iowans about his decisions.

“The contrast between Branstad and Culver on fiscal management could not be clearer.”

Ali Glisson, the new communications director for the Iowa Democratic Party, issued a “Top 10″ list on Wednesday morning of “Things the IDP Is Thankful for This Thanksgiving.”  She used the word “cornucopia” in item #1, as in the “cornucopia” of Governor Culver’s “accomplishments as governor.”

I will bring your attention to another item on the list:  “9. Going home for Thanksgiving – so we finally get to talk some politics.”  Did you get to “talk some politics” yesterday?  

State Senator Swati Dandekar and her husband, Arvind, were invited guests at the State Dinner held Tuesday night in the White House in honor of India’s prime minister.  (Yes, the Dandekars got an invitation. They did NOT crash the party.)  Dandekar and her husband live in Marion, Iowa. They are both natives of India who settled in the U.S. in 1973.    

John Carlson, a Des Moines Register columnist, will retire at year’s end.

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About O.Kay Henderson

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