We have known for over 6 months now that Governor Culver isn’t serious about finding ways to reduce the budget. During the last legislative session, Republicans created a list of recommendations to cut the budget. Their ideas would have saved the state over $330 million. The Des Moines Register is reporting that Culver has refused to release a list of budget cutting recommendations from his department heads. Their list would find ways to cut an additional. $62 million
Let’s do a little math this morning.
Culver’s Across the Board Cuts: $600,000,000
The cuts have resulted in hundreds of lost jobs and un-paid time off for state workers. The cuts have impacted critical areas such as public safety and education. Many school districts across the state have said that the cuts will force them to raise property taxes. The scary part of all of this is that this might not be the only action that Culver will have to take.
When you add the Republican recommendations (over $330 million in savings) and the cost saving ideas from department heads (over $60 million), you almost get to $400,000,000 in savings, which is almost two-thirds of the total cuts that Culver made a few weeks ago. If we had done that, we could have had much lower “across the board” cuts, and that means critical areas like public safety and education might not have been so negatively impacted. If those areas were not to badly impacted, there would be no need for them to raise property taxes. Yet, Culver’s failure to lead means more Iowans will lose their jobs, and their taxes are going to go up.
Why is Governor Culver unwilling to take the ideas from Republicans and his department heads during these tough economic times? Why haven’t legislative Democrats provided areas in which we can cut the budget? Our state needs leadership, and a true leader would sit all parties down at the same table find solutions to our state’s problems.
It seems the only people Governor Culver wants to sit down with is Public Works LLC of Philadelphia, an out of state public management consultant that the taxpayers are paying for. We could solve our own problems if Governor Culver would allow the legislature to do so. Maybe Culver feels the pressure to fix this mess on his own. Maybe that is the only way he feels he can be re-elected next fall.
Maybe that’s how Governor Culver wants it to work, but that is not how our system of government works. Culver needs to end the political games and sit down with the legislature and his department heads and address the state’s problems. The news today that he is withholding cost saving ideas from the legislature is some of the most troubling news we have seen in his one term as governor.
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