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March 7th, 2011

ISU Students Need to Stop by Vaudt’s Office

By Craig Robinson

Students from Iowa’s three regent universities will descend upon the Iowa Capitol today for Regent’s Lobby Day.  Regent’s Day is an annual event where students come to the capitol to lobby their legislators, usually for increased funding.

A lot has been made about Iowa State University emailing their students to encourage them to lobby against budget cuts, while expending money to transport and feed the students who make the trip. The money to pay for those things comes from student fees, but where Iowa State deserves criticism is in the content of their email.

ISU Email to Syudents

The House is proposing a 10% cut to the Regents universities (the governor proposed 4%). The Legislative Service Agency, a non-partisan organization that serves the Iowa legislature, keeps track of the income and expenditures for the state, and has found that there is no budget crisis in Iowa. In fact, we have run a surplus in 2010 and one is expected for 2011.

The Regents universities have already suffered a 20% reduction in funding over the past few years. That shortfall was somewhat replaced with federal stimulus funds but those funds are ending this year, so the proposed 10% cut will be especially devastating.

No budget crisis in Iowa?  Way to buy into the Democratic talking points ISU.

For the past few years, state government has balanced its books with huge infusions of one-time money for the federal government.  During that time, the state has also raided money from various special use funds.  Making matters worse, Governor Culver and the Democrats funded 89 different programs with one-time dollars totaling $770 million of spending that came from outside the general fund.

So, while the state’s checkbook was balanced, it was only that way because of one-time dollars that are not available anymore.  The email sent to students fails to accurately portray Iowa’s financial situation by ignoring the absence of one-time funds.  Those budget numbers will only get worse if the legislature compromises on allowable growth for K-12 education, and if Governor Branstad and Republican are unable to renegotiate the labor deal Culver agreed to on his way out of office.

Maybe instead of lobbying the legislators, these students should instead spend a little time with State Auditor Dave Vaudt so they actually understand the fiscal mess Branstad inherited from Culver.

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About the Author

Craig Robinson

Craig Robinson is the founder and editor-in-chief of, a political news and commentary site he launched in March of 2009. Robinson’s political analysis is respected across party lines, which has allowed him to build a good rapport with journalist across the country.

Robinson has also been featured on Iowa Public Television’s Iowa Press, ABC’s This Week, and other local television and radio programs. Campaign’s & Elections Magazine recognized Robinson as one of the top influencers of the 2012 Iowa Caucuses.

A 2013 Politico article sited Robinson and as the “premier example” of Republican operatives across the country starting up their own political news sites. His website has been repeatedly praised as the best political blog in Iowa by the Washington Post, and in January of 2015, Politico included him on the list of local reporters that matter in the early presidential states.

Robinson got his first taste of Iowa politics in 1999 while serving as Steve Forbes’ southeast Iowa field coordinator where he was responsible for organizing 27 Iowa counties. In 2007, Robinson served as the Political Director of the Republican Party of Iowa where he was responsible for organizing the 2007 Iowa Straw Poll and the 2008 First-in-the-Nation Iowa Caucuses. Following the caucuses, he created his own political news and commentary site,

Robinson is also the President of Global Intermediate, a national mail and political communications firm with offices in West Des Moines, Iowa, and Washington, D.C. Robinson utilizes his fundraising and communications background to service Global’s growing client roster with digital and print marketing.

Robinson is a native of Goose Lake, Iowa, and a 1999 graduate of St. Ambrose University in Davenport, where he earned degrees in history and political science. Robinson lives in Ankeny, Iowa, with his wife, Amanda, and son, Luke. He is an active member of the Lutheran Church of Hope.

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