Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Don’t worry about the details, its easy.

After listening to Governor Culver’s Condition of the State speech I’ve had a very simple question stuck in my head. How many families out there are sitting around the kitchen table at night talking about building a huge addition onto the house as a way to combat our bad economy?

We all know that isn’t happening. Everywhere you look Iowa families are cutting back on their spending, yet our Governor refuses to do just that. Yesterday Governor Culver proposed borrowing $700 million bucks that would be used for infrastructure projects. The press lauded him for the “bold” proposal, and his Democrat colleagues were quick to endorse the idea as well, meaning it’s probably going to happen.

Is going in debt really our best and only solution? If it’s really that easy why haven’t we done it in the past, or why haven’t we done it during more prosperous times? Simple, because it’s risky, and is probably something any good financial advisor would warn families not to do.

IPERS, which already had solvency issues before the financial crisis, has seen a third of its assets disappear. Shouldn’t the state make sure it can fund its commitment to it workers before it takes on a massive amount of debt?

Iowa’s K-12 education system needs to know very soon how much money the state will allocate to them for their 2009-2010 fiscal budget. The legislature has already earmarked 4% allowable growth, but many districts are concerned that the legislature could cut that funding to 2 or 3% allowable growth. The uncertainty that is being caused by the lack of any budget projections from the Governor is wreaking havoc on some school districts. I don’t think Culver said hardly anything about education in his speech yesterday. Should we be borrowing $700 million when our schools are in the dark about what level of funding they will be receiving? I don’t think so.

I know what the Democrats and the liberal media are telling us, that all of this will be paid with gambling revenues. Heck is you read the paper, gambling revenues is the states version of the Easy Button. Polk County has a $1.6 million shortfall, yet they want to retrofit Vets auditorium for more convention space, how do they propose to pay for it? Gambling Revenues! I believe that some gambling revenue already goes into the general fund, yet under Culver’s new proposal requires that $56 million in gambling revenues a year would be allocated to pay for his $700 million dollar infrastructure plan.

When do run out of gambling revenue to use? In FY 2008 the state of Iowa had $322,441,000.00 in appropriations and outlays from gambling revenues. Is Culver suggesting that an additional $56 million a year is going to be needed to pay for his plan, or will does he plan to eliminate using gambling revenues to fund Vision Iowa, School Infrastructure, and Capitol Complex renovations for the next 20 years?

Simply put Culver’s speech yesterday created more questions than answers. It’s troubling that the media his fellow Democrats are ready to sign the loan papers without asking any questions. What is likely to happen is another expansion of the gambling industry in Iowa, the reintroduction of TouchPlay, and a sweetheart deal leasing of the State Lottery to a casino operator. Leaving our future generations in debt and over-reliant on the gambling industry.


  1. Dear God,
    Please don't let Culver screw anything up so bad that we can't fix it down the road.

  2. Herschel, I take issue with your comment yesterday about the flood video. Lost my biz in the flood, not a portion but everything. Signed up for Fema/Sba, got my control numbers and offers of "low cost" money....buckets of it!

    When I was at the capital for opening day of session, I took careful note of the folks who aren't from eastern Iowa as they walked up to each of the large color photos showing the flood damage in CR. It was prescient to hear them and to see the "shock value"...they had no idea.

    I mucked out...and then did a lot of praying. For the last many years, the objective of owning a business was to provide for my family and to become debt free. We were so close...

    My decision was to take no loans, start over from scratch the way I did years ago and yes, it's tough today but I'll still be debt free within the next year.

    Had I taken the loan, that debt would have kept me enslaved to the debtor far beyond my "line of sight."

    It was the tougest decision to make but it was the right decision to make. Chet referred to how "tough" Iowans are, but he has it all backwards.

    That's what our leadership needs to do right now...get tough, not bass-akwards!

    To put this another way, Chet Culver and his thugs (yes, that's the right word for now) are about to put handcuffs on my children's future in this state. Is it any wonder why graduates leave? Especially the ones who are talented enough to start their own businesses!!

    The flood video was appropriate for the purposes of "reminding" our leaders about the breath taking damage to the lives of the people they serve....for that reason it was great.

    Now, where I agree with you: The video was a joke because it provided Chet with 10-15 minutes of "cover" from which he was able to hide from his constitutional duties, evidenced by his lack of "details" as you've already outlined.

    Let's mortgage our future and co-sign with gambling, that's a righteous cause...before you know it we'll have touch play and brothels too just to make the payments...

    We're about to become a slave state and those precious AAA bond ratings, they have a short life expectancy, as does our economy.

    It was a shameful day to be an Iowan and there's many more to come at this pace! The tax man commeth! Not if...just when.

  3. Steve Rathje: The Max Tan Commeth

  4. There are projects in the state that need done, bad economy or not. The Julien Dubuque bridge is perilously close to falling into the Mississippi, there are schools with buckets on the floor every time it rains, there are blocks upon blocks of abandoned homes in Cedar Rapids that are rotting from the inside out for lack of funds to demolish them--let alone funds to build the levees that the city desperately needs.

    We can't afford to let our state fall down around us for lack of funds to do anything about it. Iowa is 49th in the nation when it comes to public debt per capita. The $700 million would double that, to over $200 per person...which would make us 46th in the nation. It's not an apocalyptic debt load, folks. It's necessary debt to fix our state's most critical infrastructure needs.

  5. We don't need a bridge -- we'll have a train. Amtrak is COMIN' TO DUBUQUE!

  6. American.. you sounds like Dave Yepsen and his blathering over at the Register the past couple of days..

    First off...those things you speak of are FEDERAL responsibilties...The people of this state should't be solely burdened with those projects..but I digress.

    Don't know if you noticed or not..but the state's about 600 MILLION in the hole..with no way to fix it. The only solutions we hear from the Dems is to raise gas taxes, give cities/counties the option to levy local income taxes...and now..we hear this cockamamie idea about spending 700 MILLION more in money we don't have.

    Chet says that we can pay for it with "gambling revenues".. Hey guess what Chet..that money is already committed to the local communities that those gambling facilities are in. People in those communities were promised those revenues by our state government if they allowed gambling to come in there.

    Second off..your talk about "flood relief" takes the cake...

    Where the hell was Chet last year when his own little Rebuild Iowa commission was screaming at him to call a special session to deal with flood relief. Where was he when state legislators, Republican and Democrat from the hit areas called on Culver to call a special session...answer..Chet was NO WHERE...except maybe having some brews with his buddy Bill Knapp.

    Where was Chet kicking the crap out of the lazy assed US Congressman for Cedar Rapids, Dave Loebsack? Didn't hear a peep out of him when Loebsack was sitting with his thumb up his rear while Congress took a vacation and didnt do a damn thing for Iowa until October of last year....

    Spending 700 Million like this will do NOTHING to stimulate Iowa's economy or help us recover...all this will do is to feed some more $$ to Chet and the Dems constituencies in the labor unions and state workers...

  7. CW - You're "waxing eloquent today"

    Right on!!

  8. American with the IQ of 7...did you also realize that Iowa is ranked 49th in new business startups? We're not tax friendly, we're not "open for business" as are many other states and exactly what are my children going to stay here for...a job at the McDonalds drive up window?

    This is an apocalyptic blunder by a governor who fails to show the intellectual ability to lead and is trying to cover up returned favors to union interests.

    When's the last time a bridge paid taxes or hired new employees? What's about to crumble into the river is the US Bond market, and this would of course be the perfect time to slip a "debt necktie" around our necks.

    Yepsen is an idiot for this one. I'll tell him to his face. The DMR's profits are crumbling faster than our infrastructure and they aren't smart enough to figure out the correlation!

    Let's make smart investments with a ROI, not this pile of "crap" that gives us financial "RIP!"

  9. Cedar,

    When he says pay for it with gambling revenues I think he meant with the rebirth of Touchplay.

  10. 13 men and women (or "employees", as you say) died when the I-35 bridge collapsed in Minneapolis. How many people is it going to be when the overloaded Julien Dubuque goes under?

    Also, did you consider that this money will go hand in hand with Pres. Obama's infrastructure spending...the state WON'T be the only ones carrying the burden of these projects.

    I'm not defending Gov. Culver's past record on flood relief, which I agree is shameful. But now, when there IS a proposal to help flood victims (with the levees and flood protection that would be built with this money), it's your party who are the ones with their "thumbs up their asses".

  11. American..Go talk to Braley then about why he hasn't worked to get funding to repair or replace the bridge...

    There was a proposal that Chet's own Rebuild Iowa Commission laid out there LAST FREAKING YEAR...that still hasn't been taken up. Oh..and by the of the recommendations of that commission..was holding a special session to start helping get stuff done..and voila...Chet decided to sit on his thumbs just like Loebsack and Harkin did on the flood relief bill that Grassley tried pushing through in Congress.

    Hell..Loebsack even had the NERVE to take a tax relief bill that Grassley had introduced in the Senate...copy it WORD FOR WORD..and then introduced it as his own in the House..and then called it the "Grassley-Loebsack Disaster Tax Relief legislation"..and tried making it sound like he worked hand in hand with Grassley on it..

    So American..dont sit here and tell me that Republicans are the ones with "thumbs up our asses"....cuz the record is a FAR different story , pal.

  12. Calm down cedar wacko, it's just politics and not that important.

  13. is important when there are people in Cedar Rapids who are still homeless because our state and federal "leaders" cant find their way out of a paper bag to help people.

    Its important when my taxes go up because of the idiots in Des Moines not being responsible with our money...

    So me a sound real mature there.

    The rest of us who actually give a damn about our state are gonna be here doing something about it.

  14. Nice job keeping Iowa a Republican state, cedar wack job. Don't help us anymore.

  15. The amount of money tagged by our governor for flood relief (state wide) represents 1/100th of the damage just in Cedar Rapids alone.

    It's cases such as this that call for extraordinary measures which should include long term, structured debt, investment and tax incentives.

    The federal government is not our sugar daddy so I will continue to expose the failed leadership from our governor whose trying to hide behind the excuse of waiting for a federal bailout.

    It was bad enough last October to hear there would be no special session but it would be the first priority out of the gate in January.

    We don't even have a budget...or a leader.

    As for all those trashing on this blog, it's a combination of paid assassins from the Obama campaign (some are now freelancing) and folks who want to watch Republicans war with each other. Don't forget that the Jepsens, Dormans, and journalists frequent this blog in an attempt to keep a representative pulse on our party.

    I still propose the smartest Republicans in this state may read Herschel, but stay out of the business of "kolor kommentary!"

  16. at least we have open meetings. No one still knows anything about the d's. they keep their platform a secret, their state chair is appointed through a sheffler like backroom deal. no one can provide input. no one knows anything.

    R's believe in freedom of speech. D's do not.

  17. Hey Tibby,

    Who the "f" is "Jepsen"?

    You are an idiot

  18. Quote:
    "I still propose the smartest Republicans in this state may read Herschel, but stay out of the business of "kolor kommentary!"

    HA! That says alot then about the writer.

  19. Anon 6:31 / My bad, didn't check my post, however I used the correct name in a more serious context above and my opinion doesn't change, he's wrong on this issue and I'll tell him given the chance. (I'm dating myself huh?)

    So if that makes me an idiot, have it your way.

    Anon 6:44 / Speaking of writing, alot is two words...but thanks a lot for your concern!
    Politics is indeed a "contact" sport! Guess I'll go cry myself to sleep now....

  20. Wow, so this post proves it. I guess when Chester runs their party like a Ceasar without input from anyone who isnt a $25,000 donor to his re-election fund, the staff at IDP has nothing better to do with their time but troll the conservative blogs to push the Big Lug's talking points.

  21. Watch out for the monkey s**tJanuary 14, 2009 at 7:54 PM

    CLEARWATER, Fla. (AP) - Wildlife officials said a rhesus monkey known to throw feces when mad is on the loose...

    We have "a lot" of monkeys throwing feces here in Krusty's kage!!

  22. American007 - Wow, so in otherwards Republicans are just supposed to sit around and wait for something to get done about flood relief, then ask how high when the Democrats say jump? It's like the absent father blowing into town stinking drunk and demanding the kid's piggy bank to buy a 'present for mom's birthday' after spending all his money on booze, drugs and whores.

    Culver and the Democrat legislature have spent this state into the ground. I seriously doubt the infrastructure is all that much worse than it was 2 years ago, and if it was such a priority then why wasn't this the huge media buzz when Culver took office?

    We all know why. It's call bread and circuses. Anybody who knows economics knows that every dollar the govt steals or borrows from the public is a dollar that the public doesn't invest to create jobs. You're robbing Peter to pay Paul.

    Worse actually. Because the govt is not near as efficient with a dollar as is the private sector. So you end up with alot less than if you'd left that money in the private sector. It's all a giant scam. It's all about playing Santa Claus to give everyone the sugar high before the crash.

    So nice try with the moralizing and scare stories of apocalyptic doom. Go build a church already.

  23. Instead of lobbing grenades, can't there be some discussion of issues on these blogs? The Iowa Taxpayers Association reports that Iowa spends a disproportionate amount on roads and higher ed. We are 8th in the nation in per capita road spending and 6th in the nation in higher ed spending. Does it make sense to embark on a program to enhance that infrastructure when we already have a lot more than we seem to need?

  24. Laugh about it
    Shout about it
    When you've got to choose
    Everyway you look at it you lose.

    Sure it would be great to send Chet home, but is it going to happen?

    No. He is an amazing campaigner and has his team running full speed, right now, 22 months before election day, and who do we have? Absolutely no one. Norhty? Rants? Vander Plaats (again)??? All second teir guys... And if your hoping to see Steven King, don't hold your breath, If Nussle couldn't win in his own congressional district (1st), there is no way King can win there.

    As for anon 10:57, We have an amazing road system and we SHOULD be spending our money on it. That is what MADE IOWA WHAT IT IS! GREAT FARM TO MARKET ROADS!!!! You have no clue what we "Seem to need".

    Road funding CANNOT be cut, there are a billion other things that should go before roads.

  25. Mr. 12:17 - I have much more of a clue than you'd think, but what would you suggest instead of road funding? State employee salaries? Or maybe through smoke and mirrors everything is just fine.

  26. And, by the way, Mr. 12:17, I can't do anything but agree with you completely about the state of the 2010 race. Everytime you see Mr. Culver on TV telling you how he feels your pain about the damage experienced as a result of floods and tornadoes you are experiencing a free 2010 campaign ad.

  27. 12:17 Northy?
    Hah, the dems'd have a ball with his girth the same way we enjoy the Chester Burger humor. Fat's fat whether it's dem or repub.

  28. 12:17 Here,

    We do have the most mileage of roads per capita than any state in the whole US.

    I would suggest putting more strict laws on the food stamp program, cutting HUD assistance, and getting rid of useless spending by implementing a better watchdog program (for example the train station to nowhere, the vets expansion, etc).

    Cuts can be made, but unless we organize and get the word out about wasteful government spending and sweetheart deals, no one will stop.

    Our road system cannot go under funded. It is amazing the same people complaining about road conditions are the ones that want funding cuts, it is ludacris.

    As for Northy, I couldnt agree more, but there is no one else out there.

  29. You know how the most crushing defeats for a party happen Iowa DOT and other random Democratic staffers who persist in bashing Northy, Vaudt, Rants, Vander Plaats and other possible Republican Gubernatorial nominees? They happen when you underestimate possible opponents who you consider inferior to your seemingly unbeatable candidate. Let me tell you a little story. In 1998, Republicans and even several Democrats laughed at a little known State Senator from Mt. Pleasant when he began his campaign to take on Jim Ross Lightfoot who’s numbers suggested that he would beat even the strongest Democratic opponent by 30 points or more. On election night that little known State Senator overcame a 15 point deficit and beat Jim Lightfoot to become Governor Vilsack. It was devastating to the party and set off a period of party infighting and instability that still plagues us today.

    The moral of this little tale of mine is that Democrats and some ney saying Republicans should stop acting as though Culver is unbeatable. He has been a sub-par Governor at best and his popularity rates seem to hover between 45 and 55% … Lightfoots numbers were averaging 20% higher than Culvers this far out and Lighfoot never had to be Governor which has a nasty habit of dropping your popularity ratings (especially in times of harsh economic conditions.) Until election results are tabulated, nothing is set in stone and anyone we’ve been talking about has a chance to unseat Culver, just as Vilsack took down Lightfoot 10 years ago.

  30. It is good to draw an analogy to 1998, although I think that there were some differences. First, there were no incumbents in the race. Second, did the Ds rally around Vilsack even though they'd had a primary (my memory is bad on this one)? Finally, I remember hearing about bad campaign management of the Lightfoot campaign. In the present circumstance, Mr. Culver has already begun his campaign and will continue it using free resources through November 2010. And we still regularly fight the primaries of 2002 and 2006 in this and other blogs. If we can vow to unify around our candidate, maybe some of the other obstacles can be overcome.

  31. As we find ourselves in the 3rd Bush recession of the last 20 years with a possibility of another Republican depression in the last 80 years somehow Republicans think that we should listen to them when it comes to the economy.

    Yeah, lets cut government spending and lay people off. That sure will put money in people's pockets except for the fact that people will unpaid time off or lose their jobs.

    I guess people will have more free time since they are unemployed that they will be able to grab a shovel and fill in those potholes on I80 themselves.

  32. There actually was a Democrat primary and Vilsack was not the candidate the establishment Democrats wanted. In fact, Vilsack’s campaign was largely regarded as a joke. He was fully expected to lose the primary to Mark McCormick (sp) who was better funded and much better known. Vislack was just the backwater legislator with a funny name and no chance. However, the volunteer base of the Democratic party (specifically the unions) rallied around Vilsack and helped him to beat McCormick in the primary.

    Not that anyone cared though. At the time, Lightfoot was polling at between 65 and 70% of the vote so either Democratic contender was simply considered fauder for the Lightfoot juggernaut to consume on its path to inevitable victory. The sense of inevitability Lightfoot built around himself was evident considering his bumper stickers boldly proclaimed “Iowa Needs Governor Lightfoot.”

    Don’t get me wrong, Culver will by no means be a pushover candidate. He is an incumbent Governor with control of both houses of the legislature and power generally tends to lead to good fundraising numbers because people will pay to get close to that power. However, his biggest asset is also his biggest weakness. Because he controls everything he has 0 room for error. If we are still in a recession going into 2010, people will be all to happy to lay the blame for their misery at Culver’s feet. Weather or not the crisis is Culver’s fault is irrelevant. We people lose their job, lose their home and are struggling to keep food on the table they tend to blame whoever is sitting in the biggest chair they can see. In Iowa (and 2010 in General) that is Chet.