Branstad embraces “Holy Cow” sentiment

Governor-elect Branstad sat through a budget briefing this afternoon.  The briefing — in Power-Point format — was delivered by Dave Roederer, the man Branstad asked to be his budget director.  You can watch the replay online.

At various points in the presentation there were sound effects.  There was the “ding, ding” you used to hear when your car drove over a sensor at a gas station, alerting the gas station attendant there was a customer waiting for their gas to be pumped and oil to be checked. 

At another point during today’s presentation when a really big number was revealed on the screen, the words “Holy Cow” came out of the speakers.  It was the voice of the late Chicago Cubs sportscaster Harry Caray. 

“I guess I would concur with that statement,” Branstad said, laughing.  “Holy cow!…We’ve got a structural deficit that keeps getting worse.”

At the end of the presentation, Branstad and Roederer joked around a bit.  “We have a simple problem here.  We need to take an unsustainable budget and make it sustainable, right?” Branstad asked, laughing.

“That’s all we need to do,” Roederer replied.  “And besides that, have a good New Year and let me how that all comes out.” 

Roederer later confirmed that was not a sentence of resignation on his part.

“I’m still in the job,” Roederer told reporters.  Both Roederer and Branstad described the need for a “lifestyle change” on the part of state government.

A very small crowd came out for today’s budget briefing, which was held in the governor’s transition office in the old hospital building a block to the northeast of the statehouse.  Iowa Taxpayers Association president Ed Wallace and lobbyist Tom Cope (the former chief of the Senate Republican Caucus staff) were there, as was John Cacciatore, a former chief of staff to Governor Tom Vilsack who is now a senior vice president at a p.r./governmental relations/lobbying firm in Des Moines.

A former Branstad chief of staff was there as well.  Bob Rafferty, a lawyer, is also a former Republican state representative. He once served as Branstad’s budget chief, too.  He now works for a Minnesota-based p.r./governmental relations/lobbying firm.

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About O.Kay Henderson

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