Tuesday, May 12, 2009

GOP Calls on Culver to Use Veto Pen

Republican Party of Iowa
May 12, 2009
Contact: Danielle Plogmann

Strawn: Culver Can Restore Education Cuts, Use Veto Pen
Iowa GOP says cut earmarks, and outlines over $17 million in potential savings

Des Moines, IA. – Republican Party of Iowa Chairman Matt Strawn today called on Governor Chet Culver to use his veto pen and place the needs of Iowa’s school children ahead of legislative earmarks, including nearly $800,000 to spruce up his own residence in Des Moines.

“A budget is a statement of priorities. Unfortunately, Iowa school districts were shortchanged because Democrat leaders had more pressing pet projects, such as sprucing up the Governor’s mansion, $3.5 million in recreational trails, and $3 million in passenger rail service,” Strawn said, referring to the failure of Democrat lawmakers to fund a key $14 million teacher pay provision in the standings bill (SF 478) while spending millions of dollars on questionable earmarks in separate legislation (HF 822).

Today, the Republican Party of Iowa outlined over $17 million in potential savings in spending legislation that currently sits on Culver’s desk for signature into law.

“I challenge Governor Culver to show leadership by using his line item veto authority to stand up to this free-spending Democrat majority,” Strawn said.

“Iowans are courageously coping with extremely tight budgets of their own. As families make tough choices about how to spend their limited resources, they expect lawmakers to make those same difficult spending decisions,” Strawn said. “Instead, in marathon sessions that lasted until early morning hours, Democrats voted to put repairs to the Governor’s mansion ahead of investments in education.”

Below is a list of items from HF 822 that could be postponed or eliminated to save over $17 million in next year’s state budget.

Budget Item Dollars Appropriated for FY 2010

Terrace Hill Preservation and Restoration 769,543
Historical Preservation Grant Program 1,000,000
Great Places Initiative 1,900,000
Community Cultural Grants 200,000
Regional Sports Authorities 500,000
Warren County Juvenile Courthouse Renovation 100,000
Fire Station Improvements - Muscatine Fire Dept. 200,000
Independence Mental Health Institute 200,000
Water Trails and Low Head Dam Programs 800,000
Hungry Canyons Alliance 100,000
Gold Star Museum - Camp Dodge 1,000,000
Davenport Aviation Readiness Center 2,000,000
Mount Pleasant Readiness Center 1,000,000
Passenger Rail Service 3,000,000
Recreational Trails 3,500,000
Iowa Flood Center (University of Iowa) 1,300,000
Total: $17,569,543

Source: Legislative Fiscal Agency

“During this economic slump, sometimes worthwhile projects have to wait. We can proudly say not a single Republican legislator voted to end this important education program or support the additional expenditures on the Governor’s mansion. Republicans have their priorities in the right place,” Strawn concluded.

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SF 478 – Standings bill approved by the Legislature in the final weekend of the 2009 Session (failed to include an appropriation for the Phase I teacher pay program).

HF 822 – Rebuild Iowa Infrastructure Fund bill approved by the Legislature in the final weekend of the 2009 Session (included the appropriation for the Terrace Hill improvements).