Iowa’s Secretary of Agriculture says “something’s gotta give soon” to resolve the state budget crisis, but she stops short of calling for a tax increase. Ag Secretary Patty Judge says she’s “not in charge” of tax policy anymore since she’s no longer a member of the legislature. But Judge’s complaints about her agency’s budget can’t be resolved without additional state tax revenue. Judge says her agency’s been cut by millions over the past two years, and staff’s been cut dramatically. Judge says the number of things her agency’s required, by law, to do hasn’t shrunk during that time. Judge says she can’t fill vacant positions, and tasks aren’t done in as timely a manner as they should be done. Judge says there’s absolutely nothing she can do about it, and people in her department are becoming stressed and saying they don’t want to work there anymore. The Department of Agriculture is in charge of things like meat inspections and oversight of equipment that measure things like how heavy a steer is or how much gasoline is being pumped. Judge says the Legislature must scale back the tasks her agency must perform, or provide more money to get the job done. Judge, though, says she doesn’t have to propose ways for the legislature to come up with that extra money because that’s not her job.
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