Earlier this week, former Governor Terry Branstad proposed changing the state’s budget process from the current annual process to biennial budgets. Kathie Obradovich of the Des Moines Register says that both Rod Roberts and Bob Vander Plaats agree that it’s a good idea.
For all those “Branstad is Evil” folks out there, I find it telling that Branstad’s first detailed proposal won acceptance by his opponents. More telling is the fact that this is something he waned to do when he was Governor but the Republican legislature said no.
I was under the impression that the only good things he did was because the Republicans finally took control of the legislature, and all the bad stuff he did was because he’s just a liberal at heart. Momma always told me I would learn something new every day.
Anyway, Obradovich’s article jumps to a conclusion that I have not heard Branstad or any other gubernatorial candidate advance. She claims that since the budget is proposed for two years there is no need for the legislature to convene in a non-budget year.
That notion couldn’t be further from the truth. First, just because a budget is proposed by the governor and approved by the legislature doesn’t meat that everything is in place and no changes will be made to the budget, heck even with annual budgeting Culver has had to go in and make sweeping changes.
Kathie contends that Branstad’s proposal is some sort of power grab, yet nowhere in her article does she talk about how Culver has refused to let the legislature deals with the current budget mess. Last fall when the budget was out of whack, Culver opted to do a massive across-the-board cut instead of calling the legislature back so they could make more targeted cuts. Isn’t that a power grab? The result will be a massive property tax increase.
We need our Governor and the legislature to set budgets that serves the state’s long term interests, not just we can afford for the next year. Additionally, this process will allow for more oversight and more legislative input.
In the non-budget years, the legislature can look for places to save money, eliminate programs that overlap, and make government more efficient. It is the current process that is broken.
These are the type of ideas we need to be seeing from our gubernatorial candidates. This is what Republicans in this state have been longing for. Let’s continue to find ways to reform government.
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