From O. Kay Henderson at Radio Iowa:
Governor Chet Culver says there will be “significant layoffs” in the state government workforce in the coming year as agencies deal with budget cuts. Culver this morning revealed more details of his state budget plan for the fiscal year which begins July 1st, and bristled when Des Moines Register columnist David Yepsen questioned whether the cuts were deep enough.
“I don’t know how much further you want us to go, David,” Culver said during a news conference in his statehouse office. “We’ve cut $580 million. It represents the largest cut in decades, if not ever.”
Culver ordered an across-the-board cut as well as selective cuts in the current year’s budget which amounted to about $180 million. The governor’s outline for next year pares another $400 million.
“This is not a game. We’re doing what we have to do by law to balance the budget,” Culver said. “…We’re doing the responsible thing and to suggest that six-and-a-half percent is not enough, which represents perhaps the largest cut ever in our state, coupled with the $180 million, is just wrong.”
Sure, governor, but every sign out there points to the revenue picture getting worse. Even with Culver’s budget in hand, lawmakers will pretty much have to sit tight until the next Revenue Estimating Conference forecast comes out in March. It will be bad news.
The REC will say things are awful and the economic tunnel of fun we’re in shows no sign of ending. Just a guess.
So I look for more bristling ahead.
Republicans are cranky, too.
“The governor has promised not to raise taxes, yet through his budget, Iowans and employers will see tax increases. He promised to fulfill his commitments to education, yet he comes up short on funding some of those priorities. He assured Iowans he would keep our commitment to the Senior Living Trust Fund, yet he eliminates the fund altogether,” said House Republican Leader Kraig Paulsen (R-Hiawatha).
Here’s Culver’s budget plan, in case you’d like to dig in.