Just got done watching The Register’s live video feed of Gov. Chet Culver’s noon news conference. Handy. Watch it again here if you’d like.
The bottom line on a special legislative session is that there is no bottom line. Culver isn’t calling one, but he “reserves the right” to call one at any moment, if needed. He’s a slippery one. Culver never has to say no to a special session, even though he’s unlikely to ever say yes. Limbo is bliss.
As for yesterday’s AP story saying Culver had “virtually” ruled out on a special, Culver virtually disproved it, sort of. The odds of him calling a special session are Powerball-esque. But technically, he did not rule it out. Lightning might strike. Never know.
Instead, the governor flexed more of his executive authority by shaking the state’s piggy bank to come up with $40 million for homeowner and business assistance in the food zone. Homeowners could get up to $60,000 for a down payment on a new home or up to $1,000 per month in mortgage assistance on a damaged home they own and hope to repair. That could be big for some folks, although there is a catch. The loan is only forgivable if you agree to stay put for 10 years, Culver said.
Culver’s creative shifting is great and all, but I can’t help but look down the road to a day when we have divided government again, say with a Republican governor and a Democratic Legislature. I wonder how Dem leaders will feel then when a GOP lug starts following Culver’s lead and moves tens of millions of dollars around in the budget with no legislative OK. They won’t like it.
But that’s the future, folks in the present need a mountain of cash. Culver is delivering, even if he is weaseling out of a special session.