Thursday, December 18, 2008

Governor, You are elected to lead in times of crisis, not play the blame game.

Below is the letter Governor Culver sent to state employees. Once again, he blames George W. Bush for our state's problems, not the Democrats out-of-control spending of the past 2 years.

Dear Fellow State Employee,

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 the national economic situation.
As you know, we are in the midst of an economic challenge that is historic in its scope. While its cause comes from actions on Wall Street, supported by misguided federal policies from Washington over the past eight years, the result has been an economic recession that is hitting Main Streets and factories and farms and families – and state governments - across the nation.

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. 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. As a response, I directed agencies to cut expenses and unnecessary travel, and to freeze state hiring.

But maintaining a balanced budget and staying in front of this national economic crisis requires continued and shared responsibility throughout state government, as well as in communities statewide.

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.

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.

As Governor, I hear these warnings. I will protect our State’s fiscal position, and I will do so without raising taxes on Iowans.

Therefore, over the next few weeks, I am going to take the following steps:
First, I am directing the Department of Management to immediately revise its projected balance sheet for the General Fund in order to adjust for the recent REC action and make other adjustments based upon DOM’s best projections of income and expenditures. This means the State will have a projected negative ending balance on June 30, the end of our current fiscal year.

Therefore, next week I will make across-the-board reductions in General Fund expenditures to assure there will be no State budget deficit at the end of fiscal year 2009. I will sign an Executive Order to implement an across-the-board cut of 1.5% to the general fund, or $91.4 million.

I will ask for one exception to this across-the-board cut: the Correction Officers and Troopers who are on the frontlines and are essential to our public safety. I will ask the legislature to “backfill” an appropriate amount of funding to make sure essential positions are not cut.

In addition, I will ask the legislature to approve transferring approximately $10 million to the General Fund from accounts and funds in state government that have balances that exceed the amount needed for the current fiscal year.

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 what I want to do, but as Governor I believe that this is what must be done.

Nonetheless, we are in a better position than most states. We have more than $620 million in cash reserves that will help us through this situation. We have a AAA bond rating that allow us to do some things that other states cannot.

And I am confident that, in January, President-elect Obama and Congress will immediately go to work on an economic stimulus package that will make a difference to critical financial issues facing all States, such as funding for Medicaid, improving our infrastructure, creating new jobs, and rebuilding our economy.

We did not cause this economic crisis.(?!!)
But the responsibility falls to us to respond to it. We have endured challenges in the past, and we have succeeded. Our long history of fiscal responsibility, coupled with the actions I have taken, gives me optimism and confidence about what the future holds for our state. 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.


Chester J. Culver
Governor of Iowa


  1. It's this "stuff" that makes blood shoot from my eyes! How a guy like the "Big Lug" is hired by Iowa voters to be our CEO escapes me.

    Chet knows he's gonna get his lunch handed back to him once the session starts so he immediately goes to the Clinton/Morris playbook and triangulates the issues and by January 12, the DM Register will have printed articles ad nausea about the problems WE created.

    We have new leadership however and it would appear from the first salvo fired off last week about spending, that Chet is well aware the open season on our Governor is just a few weeks away.

  2. Maybe the legislature should reduce the Governor's food budget. He could be leaner, too.

  3. Take a poll and support your candidate for RPI state chair here

  4. Sorry - Mark - your link does not work.

    Try again.

  5. Wow - the pain of the Bush recession finally starts to hit home and you piss and moan about the "blame game"? How is this any different than Bush and co. whining about the "Clinton recession" eight years ago?

  6. Gutless Anon 9:31

    Bush had zip, zero, NADA to do with the Democrats increasing state spending by A BILLION dollars over the past two years...all while revenues were coming in far short of that.

    In the rush to pay back their special interests for the campaign contributions to get them elected..the Democratic Party majority has managed to put our state in a hellva financial position.

    Now ol Chet says this is going to have to be a "shared sacrifice"...excuse me? We're having to pay for you and your party's irresponsiblity?

    Nice try Chester..try explaining that one come 2010...

  7. From the DSM Register:
    Iowa is one of 43 states that face budget shortfalls, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. A year ago, 13 states were on that list, and Iowa was not one of them.

    At least 25 states have reduced services to residents and 14 have increased taxes, according to the policy group, a national group based in Washington, D.C., that advocates for low-income families.

    I'll bet the kool aid drinkers like Cedar would like you to think that none of those states are led by GOP governors or legislatures and this is all just a result of those spendy Democrats.

  8. Gutless Anon..

    Who's been in control of Iowa's state government for the past 2 years?? Oh that's right the Democrats have been.

    Again...George Bush didn't make Chet, Gronstal and McCarthy put together an agenda that has increased spending by a BILLION dollars over the past two years.

    Spendings increased by double digit percentages...revenues have grown at half of that.

    Its basic math, Gutless Anon. If you spend more than you take're going to run a deficit.

    What your little Center for Budget Priorities fails to mention is that Democrats have used shell game tactics like shifting funds from various specialized funds our state established like the Senior Living Trust Fund and the Underground Storage Tank Removal fund in order to cover their increased spending.

    One problem with that...

    State law requires those funds be paid back IN FULL, with interest. No plans been offered to do so. So...those funds have been dried up..there's no more money to shift.

    So..what are the people of this state looking at? Major property and income tax increases.

    The warning signs of the Democrats irresponsible fiscal policies have been there..instead of doing something about blamed someone else for the problem. Real nice there, Gutless Anon.

  9. This is another, totally different, new anon posting:

    Waxwhack, you wax so-inelegantly trying to cast aspersions on anon posters while utterly missing the raison d'ĂȘtre of blogs, that being the wonderful cloak of anonymity that allows entirely free and unfettered intellectual intercourse.

    Granted, that intellectualism sometimes does run a bit to the lower-limbaugh thought level, but even that provides some glimpse of the depth of feeling out there on that particular matter.

    So just get over the I'm-better-than-thou-because-I-use-a-nom-de-internet" attitude; it isn't becoming.

  10. Oh Gutless Anon....LOL..if you're going to make asinine statements and not even put your name behind it...yeah..i'm gonna call you a Gutless Anon. Deal w it. :)

    Funny how you got nothing for the facts laid out before you...I know its hard for Democrats to actually admit their fiscal irresponsibility has put us in this budget hole we're in.

  11. This idiot is either delusional or a liar--or perhaps both. He certainly is incompetent. Even, I, an average layperson could see this economic crisis coming. Why cant' Democrats? Are they really this stupid?

  12. Everything done by Democrats is done calculating how much of each expenditure will filter back into their campaign treasuries.

    They do not care about the long-term economic health of their state. They only care about staying in power. To heck with the citizens of their state.

  13. tippi hedron wants to knowDecember 19, 2008 at 3:15 PM

    Cedar Waxwing is crowing about anons? Uhm...cedar...just what exactly is cedar waxwing other than an anonymous bird with an annoying chirp?

    being anon is the point of a blog, as you clearly show us with your anonymous name.

    Why a bird though? Just for pooping on innocent anons?

  14. Because Gutless Cedar Waxwing - who won't put his real name behind his rants - is a bird brain.

  15. 3:06 PM - No, it's greed. The very same greed they cry about with religious fervor against corporations. They spread the money around to their favorite interest groups who'll put money back into their campaigns so they can run again and really screw things up.

    That, and their terminal case of Bush Tourette's. Everything is Bush's fault, even though the Democrats have had it all in Iowa for two years.