Governor Culver finally did something to show Iowans that he cares about the state’s budget crisis. He cut his $130,000 salary by 10%. The liberal news media has called the move a sign of bold leadership. The reason why the move was politically wise is because he did it on the same day that Rep. Kraig Paulsen called for across-the-board pay cuts for state employees.
More on Paulsen’s proposal in a moment. I kinda laughed when I heard that Culver was going to take one for the team and cut his salary by $13,000. We must not forget that in addition to his salary, Culver is provided free housing, transportation, and utilities.
He doesn’t have to pay property taxes, purchase gas, or even own a vehicle. He doesn’t even pay for his food and beer. The state picks up the tab when he entertains at Terrace Hill. I’m sure they buy a little extra food and beverage that the first family can snack on. When you see him out drinking with Knapp, you know Culver’s not picking up the tab. In fact, if the state or one his big donors are not picking up the tab, his campaign probably is.
All Chet Culver needs to pay for is smokes for his wife, and some gangster suits for himself. That actually could be quite expensive. Mari pollutes the Iowa air more that that coal-fired power plant in Marshalltown that Alliant wanted to build would have. Culver’s suit budget is not cheap either since he probably needs new sizes every 4 months.
My point is that Chet Culver doesn’t have to deal with the daily stresses that most Iowans do. He’s special. The government takes care of him. Hell, most people could weather this economy if they didn’t have to pay for housing and transportation. Everything else is peanuts.
Back to Paulsen.
Here is an honest question to the House Minority Leader. Kraig, if across-the-board tax cuts are irresponsible, lazy, and devoid of leadership, why aren’t across-the-board pay cuts irresponsible, lazy, and devoid of leadership? I think we would both agree that state government is too large, so why not seek out the duplication and waste in each department and eliminate those positions rather than just slicing everyone’s pay?
Here is what Republicans should not forget. Regardless of whether or not you think that state employees are overpaid, the state of Iowa made a deal with their employees in terms of how much they are going to get paid. We must remember not everyone is like Chet Culver. People live paycheck to paycheck. When you cut somebody’s pay from $40,000 a year to $36,000 a year, it’s going to hurt. In some cases, these people don’t have a lot of waste that they can eliminate. They barely have enough to make ends meet.
At a time when Governor Culver is being blamed for creating the loss of hundreds of jobs, Republicans somehow thought it was wise to poke state workers in the eye, too. Shouldn’t the message from the Republican leaders be something like, “The personal cuts that the Department of _______ announced today would not be necessary if Governor Culver would have taken Republican’s recommendations of $330 million in budget cuts.”
Republicans should also come back to Des Moines and have a workshop to find another $300 million in budget cuts. Show Iowans that Republicans are willing to make the difficult decisions, show the media that Republicans are serious about fixing the state budget, and prove to all Iowans that they can have competent leadership if they throw the Democrats out of office.
Instead we continue to undermine our own proposals and attacks on Governor Culver because we are intellectually lazy.
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