Culver budget unveiling

Governor Chet Culver, a Democrat, held a 23-minute news conference this afternoon to unveil his state budget outline.  Click here to listen to that news conference and read the Radio Iowa story.  The entire file Culver presented to lawmakers is also available at that link.

Democratic leaders in the legislature issued a joint statement shortly after Culver concluded his remarks to reporters.  (It seems less than a full endorsement, eh?)  Read it below:


Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal, House Speaker Pat Murphy, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Senate President Jack Kibbie:

“It’s important to remember that everything the Legislature is doing this session is under the cloud of a lingering national recession. Just as middle-class Iowans, small businesses and other employers have been hit hard by the recession, the state of Iowa is continuing to tighten its belt.
The plan outlined today by Governor Culver responds to the concerns of middle-class Iowans who want a responsible state budget that doesn’t raise taxes but focuses our limited resources on creating good-paying jobs, maintaining quality schools and ensuring quality health care for more Iowans.

The Legislature will examine the plan closely in the weeks ahead and we look forward to working with Governor Culver to approve a plan that will help middle class families.”

The top two Republican leaders in the legislature issued separate statements.  Senate GOP Leader Paul McKinley’s came first. (Note the headline is just three words shorter than the quote itself.)  Read McKinley’s brief statement below:

McKinley Comments on Release of Governor’s Proposed Budget
Three years of fiscal mismanagement and higher taxes have put Iowa in a serious fiscal predicament

DES MOINES, IA  – Senate Republican Leader Paul McKinley (R-Chariton) today released the following statement regarding the release of Governor Culver’s proposed budget for FY2011:

“Senate Republicans are not interested in supporting a state budget that merely shifts the tax burden onto property taxes.”

House GOP Leader Kraig Paulsen’s statement came a minute later:

Paulsen Releases Statement on Governor’s Budget Proposal

(DES MOINES)—Today House Republican Leader Kraig Paulsen (R-Hiawatha) released the following statement on Gov. Chet Culver’s recent budget proposal:

“The governor’s budget spends more money than it takes in and will increase the burden on property taxpayers.  Once again, decisions in Des Moines are going to drive up property taxes across the state.  It’s irresponsible and will be costly for Iowans. 

 “House Republicans will dive into budgets, ask tough questions, and identify savings and government waste while being responsible with taxpayers’ money.”

The only statewide elected official to issue a statement was Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey, a Republican. Northey’s statement counters Culver’s assertion that the budget plan he outlined would not lead to state worker layoffs.  Read Northey’s statement below:

A statement by Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey regarding the budget proposal released by Iowa Governor Chet Culver follows here:

“The Governor’s proposal would mean that it is 1994 for the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship once again.  The Governor’s proposed $16.8 million general fund appropriation is the same level of funding the Department received in 1994.  Unfortunately, costs have increased significantly since 1994 and spending for the rest of state government has grown 48 percent in that time.

“Due to built in increases that the Department has no control over, we are actually looking at $3.29 million budget gap that needs to be filled.  These built in increases include two previously negotiated salary increases, increased health insurance costs, replacing one-time funding sources that we were directed by the Legislature to use in the current fiscal year, and replacing the savings that resulted from the five furlough days taken by AFSCME covered employees.

“In addition, the Governor’s proposal to reduce the Environmental First funding the Department receives by $1.87 million will not only impact the number of conservation projects we will be able to assist farmers with, but will mean a $187,000 cut to fund the staff that are on the ground helping farmers design those practices.

“The Department has already experienced 5 layoffs and has 44 open positions, which is over 10 percent of our workforce.  If the Governor’s proposal is implemented we will need to reduce staffing by approximately another 50 positions.”

(Where have I heard that “it’s like 1994 again” phrase before?  Anybody?  Anybody?)

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About O.Kay Henderson

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