Destroy the Rebuild Iowa Office
So the other day there was a big hullabaloo over the fact that Culver responded to all the criticism over the Rebuild Iowa Office. Yes the Governor cut the salaries of the employees, but in my opinion those salaries are still out of whack. There are 19 employees in that office and the average salary is $75k a year. The median family income in Iowa is just over $44,000.00, which is what the lowest earner in the Rebuild Iowa Office makes.
Folks we are spending $1.5 million a year on salaries that are not needed. Those who opposed the creation of this new government bureaucracy from the state were correct. There are other state agencies that are better suited in dealing with these issues. For example the Iowa Homeland Security and Emergency Management Division claims on their website that they help coordinate activities before, during, and after emergencies through partnerships with local, state, federal and private agencies. Isn’t that exactly what the Rebuild Iowa Office claims to be doing?
We don’t need to simply adjust salaries downward at the Rebuild Iowa Office; we need close it down and let IHSEMD lead the recovery effort. With the budget crisis and the fact that such a move would allow for more dollars to go directly to flood victims, this seems like a common sense approach.
How Much is too Much, and when is Enough, Enough?
David Yepsen has an interesting column today, saying that the he think that the reason legislators are still advancing the idea of the gas tax even though the governor continues to say he is opposed to it is because they are using it as leverage. Basically if Culver wants to get his $700 million dollar bonding proposal through, he’s going to have to change his position on the gas tax.
Which leaves me to ask a simple question, how much money do they need? The Time 21 Study says that they need an extra $200 million a year for the next 20 years to fix Iowa’s roads and bridges. Now we all know how government works, they WANT $200 million, what they need is probably less. I don’t know of any state agency that would submit a request of what they actually need, it’s just not how the game is played.
Speaking of “the game,” we also know that before that 20 years is up Time 21 will want to adjust the $200 million a year by adding in inflation rates, and when the 20 years is up we are going to have to do a Time 22 Study because my gosh, some of these roads are 20 years old… You get the picture.
Anyway so let’s look at what Chet Culver and the democrats really want to spend on roads in the next few years. Is it the $600 million that Time 21 is requesting? Nope, its $1.6 billion dollars, and the scary part is I think my numbers are low because I couldn’t find solid per year numbers for the increased income from the vehicle registration increases.
Here is the breakdown is the gas tax and Culver’s bonding proposal pass:
Increased Vehicle Registration: $115 Million
Increased Gas Tax: $483 Million ($161 million a year)
Culver’s Bonding Proposal: $700 Million
Obama’s Infrastructure: $358 Million
And you know what’s going to happen in year four, the Iowa DOT is going to raise holy hell that they don’t have the money they had in previous years to fix the roads.
What’s my point, you have enough money to comply with time 21’s request so don’t make me pay more at the pump.
Prevailing Wage Toss Up or Done Deal?
Yesterday, Rep. Christopher Rants posed on his blog that the Democrats have found the votes they needed to pass the prevailing wage legislation. His explanation seems logical, but my other sources tell me that the House Democrats spent 6 hours in caucus yesterday. Obviously, there is something going on. And to back up that point, Rep. Larry Marek who told his constituents he opposed these labor bills on Saturday is now all of a sudden in the midst of a flip flop on the issue. He wouldn’t have to change his mind if they could pass it without him. Debate on the bill is scheduled for today; I guess we will have an answer soon.