Culver Administration: Just like every other year, the Governor’s budget recommendation is balanced.
True, but last year’s budget was supposedly balanced, too. Governor Culver was forced to make two rounds of cuts to actually balance the budget. One of the cuts was a reckless 10% across-the-board cut that will force local government and school district to raise property taxes. The real question that should be on people’s minds is whether or not Culver will be forced to make changes throughout FY 2011 like he had to do in FY 2010.
Governor Culver’s budget is also based on the assumption that that $340 million can be saved by reorganizing state government. The Des Moines Register reported yesterday that the current restructuring bill making its way through the legislature would only save the state $43 million in FY 2011. If Culver’s budget is off by $300 million, it could trigger more cuts to education or make it impossible for Culver to fulfill his pledge to fully fund two percent allowable growth for K-12 education.
Culver Administration: The FY 2011 budget is a smaller budget than when the Governor took office (FY07: $5.384 billion; FY11: $5.320 billion)
While the Culver administration claims that the FY 2011 budget is $5.320 billion, it actually spends $5.707 billion when you add the $387 million in one-time money. Also, while Culver is bragging that his FY 2011 budget is less than the FY 2007 budget, his FY 2008 budget was $5.888 billion, the FY 2009 budget was $6.095 billion, and his proposed budget last year in the middle of the world-wide recession was a whopping $6.211 billion. But, of course, Culver still blames the state’s economic troubles on the recession alone and not his out of control spending.
Culver Administration: The FY 2011 budget provides for a surplus of $382 million.
The definition of surplus is a quantity or amount over and above what is needed or used. The $382 million surplus Culver brags about is really just the ending balance. The $382 million ending balance is $100 million less than what Culver proposed in last year’s budget.
Culver Administration: The FY 2011 budget will maintain our state’s AAA bond rating.
Governor Culver likes to brag about the state’s AAA bond rating. But let’s not forget that Enron was considered to be an investment grade bond just days before it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.
Culver Administration: The FY 2011 budget does not raise taxes and protects key priority areas.
Governor Culver’s budget doesn’t raise taxes unless you own property. The budget cuts that Governor made last year have already forced the hands of local governments to in increase property taxes.
House Republicans sent out a briefing paper on the Governor’s budget late yesterday. That information is below.
Does the Governor’s Budget Raise Taxes?
Yes. The Governor claims to fund 2 percent allowable growth at $348 million. This is $196 million from the general fund, $100 million from the Cash Reserve Fund and $48 million from unspent stimulus. LSA estimates that 2 percent will cost $514 million in FY 11. Therefore, he underfunds the 2 percent by $170 million. Since the spending authority remains, the $170 million can be made up with in property tax hikes. The Governor also proposes other property tax increases by funding the property tax credits below last year’s level and funding the State Patrol out of the Road Use Tax Fund. Both will increase property taxes.
How much is the reorganization savings and is it real?
Unclear. The Governor plugs in $341 million in reorganization savings. Some of the things (IT consolidation, reducing the fleet, eliminating phantom employees) were House Republican ideas from last year. Some of the ideas like increasing unclaimed property and federal grants appear to be dubious at best. Also, $50 million of the savings is for shifting the State Patrol into the RUTF and that is unlikely to happen.
Photo by Dave Davidson
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