Monday Reads — The New Budget is Coming!

On WednesdayGov. Chet Culver will deliver his third budget to the Legislature. If you’re thinking of getting the governor a gift, I’m pretty sure third anniversary is cutlery.

Several papers front point-ups to Culver’s announcement, all noting that lawmakers face trouble in both the current budget year and the upcoming year, with more cuts on the way. Culver will be previewing his budget in speeches early this week, but AP notes that he won’t make an address to lawmakers: “What is there to say?” said spokesman Phil Roeder. “It’s not rocket science. There are going to be cuts everywhere.”

Also under the “not rocket science” heading, the governor’s staff, after a week of heavy criticism, finally jettisoned the idea of leasing the lottery to casino interests/Democratic campaign contributors in exchange for  a pot of budget-patching cash. But remember, nothing is ever truly dead at the Statehouse. And Culver’s staff says other “assets” may still be on the auction block.

A redesigned Quad-City Times screams Blago this morning, with front-page news of the Illinois governor’s impeachment trial commencing today.

Krusty Konservative says Republican Bob Vander Plaats will launch his third campaign for governortoday with appearances on two Des Moines radio shows. Vander Plaats lost in a tight three-way GOP primary in 2002 and dropped his own bid in 2006 to become Jim Nussle’s running mate. He rejuvenated his brand in 2008 as a key player in Mike Huckabee’s surprising Iowa caucus victory.

Are people concerned about what Washington is going to do about the economy? Apparently, according to the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier, which reports that “several hundred” people showed up for U.S. Rep. Bruce Braley’s town hall meeting on the stimulus package.

The Des Moines Register leads its Web rundown with an Iowa Poll showing that, gasp, Barack Obama is popular in Iowa. His approval rating is at 68 percent. And the vast majority of those polled are confident to some degree that he can lead the nation through tough problems.

The Gazette fronts news that flooded neighborhoods could see a “cat explosion” come spring, thanks to stray “flood cats” that have taken shelter in abandoned homes. The story also tells us about two women who have been bringing the strays food and water since last fall.

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