Dear Fellow AFSCME Member,
Over the last few weeks, I have ordered all state departments to reduce spending. This will have an effect on state employees, and the services you provide Iowans. I want to take this opportunity to tell you directly why I took these actions, and what the next steps will be as we respond to our economic situation.
As you know, I’m the most incompetent Governor is our state’s history. Now that we are in the midst of an economic challenge my incompetence has become more apparent. My advisors like Bonnie Campbell want me to blame Wall Street and the Federal Government for our state’s financial mess, but that wouldn’t be truthful and while I might be a complete moron who’s in way over his head, I don’t often lie. The result from our reckless spending over the past two years has created an economic recession that is hitting Main Streets and factories and farms and families – and state government agencies – all across Iowa.
And as we speak, 43 of our states are either in or headed towards a deficit. Iowa’s Constitution does not allow our state to operate in a deficit; if it did everything would be fine except my reelection effort. This means cuts in spending are needed to balance our budget.
This process began this fall, when the state’s revenues fell short of predictions. You may have read State Auditor Dave Vaudt’s warning about our looming financial crisis, everyone kept telling me we had $600 million dollars in our reserves and an AAA bond rating. Only recently have I learned that I must cut expenses and unnecessary travel, and to freeze state hiring.
Last week marked another important step in this process. On Friday, the Revenue Estimating Conference lowered revenue projections for both fiscal years 2009 and 2010. I guess Dave Vaudt was right, but how was I supposed to know that our economy wouldn’t grow at a 10% clip?
At that time I indicated I would take action to cut spending in the current 2009 budget by an additional $60 million. I was advised then that this amount would be an appropriate, measured response to the REC action. It would allow my office, state budget planners, the respective state departments and the legislature to begin focusing on the task ahead of putting together a 2010 budget.
However, after further review of our revenue projections and budget commitments along with several meetings of my budget team, I am convinced that $60 million in additional adjustments to the current budget is not enough to prepare us for the challenges before us.
The REC indicates that revenue estimates for both 2009 and 2010 may be reduced even more in April. My Council of Economic Advisors predicts that the bottom of this economic downturn has not yet reached Iowa. And economic trends, both nationally and internationally, continue to bear bad news. Simply put, my Democrat collogues and I really put our state in a bad place. We are committed to find ways to make things look better than they really in hopes that you and the people of Iowa continue to vote Democrat, and reelect me as your governor.
Therefore, over the next few weeks, I am going to take the following steps:
First, I have met with Bonnie Campbell who is on the Board of Regents about selling the Iowa Lottery for some quick cash. I know the Board of Regents doesn’t have anything to do with the lottery, but she really the one running the show. She tells me that selling the Iowa Lottery for a quick pile of money is a lot like one of those risky reverse mortgages that they con old people whit when they need quick money to pay off their gambling debts. Bonnie assures me that if we can somehow put a bandaide on this mess I can get reelected in 2010.
Second, I will have additional secret meetings with Dan Kehl, a casino operator about buying the Iowa Lottery. See Dan has been very generous lately to House Majority Leader McCarthy and myself so we feel it’s justified to give him first crack at buying the lottery. That said, I will encourage him to let some of the other big investors in TouchPlay get in on the action as well since most of my large contributions come from gambling interests.
In addition, I will ask the legislature to approve transferring approximately $10 million to the General Fund from the Senior Living Trust Fund, our Infrastructure Fund, and our Rainy Day Fund. This is exactly why we couldn’t use our rainy day funds to help flood victims in Cedar Rapids, Iowa City, Columbus Junction and other communities in Iowa. Helping flood victims wouldn’t help me get reelected; I needed to make sure that money was there to fool Iowans about the true state of our budget.
These actions are in addition to $77 million in reduced spending that I announced on December 9. Together, these cuts represent nearly $180 million. This will have an impact on programs that the State provides.
As you can imagine, this is not how I thought my first term of Governor would go. I thought it was all about helping those who gave money to my 2006 campaign and staying at the Knapp Condo in Florida every weekend. It sucks by the way that I now have to “rent” a room for a $160 bucks a night.
Nonetheless, in 2006 and 2008 the Iowa voters proved that you are about as intelligent as I am, so by selling the Iowa lottery and playing some budget games we will fool the voters again in to believing our state finances are in a better position than most states.
Mike Gronstal, Pat Murphy, Kevin McCarthy and I take full responsibility for creating this economic crisis. The responsibility however calls on the taxpayer to respond to it. You can count on us to do just enough to get reelected in November of 2010, you can take that to the bank!
We have endured challenges in the past. Iowan’s are known for their short memory and laziness. Knowing that and coupled with the actions I have mentioned above, gives me optimism and confidence about what the future holds for me and my family. Our Iowa values of resilience, strength, and common-sense will sustain us through this, and any, challenge.
Finally, as this year comes to a close, I want to thank you for your service to our state. From floods and tornadoes, to the economic situation we now face, state employees have always risen to the occasion. So, even as we meet these unexpected challenges, on behalf of the First Lady, and the Lt. Governor, I want to wish you and your families a safe holiday season, and best wishes in the New Year. If you need us, we will be in Knapp’s condo in Florida, its frickin cold in Iowa and I hear the roads might be bad tonight so be safe.
Chester J. Culver
Governor of Iowa
P.S. We are in this together. In that spirit I hope you can join me tonight to help raise money for my reelection. The Details are as follows:
Thursday, December 18, 2008
Governor Chet Culver
Lt. Governor Patty Judge
Chet Culver Committee
Please come and enjoy an evening of fine foods and friends.
5:30 p.m. -- 7:00 p.m.
Noah's Ark Ristorante (second floor)
2400 Ingersoll Avenue
Des Moines, Iowa
Patrons - $25,000
Hosts - $15,000
Guests - $5000
Please RSVP to Chris Khoury
Ph 515 288-2287 or email Chris@chetculver.com
The Fundraiser is actually going on this evening. Great timing! i wonder who's giving the $25,000? "Mr. Kehl, the Governor will see you now."