Governor Tom Vilsack will deliver his “condition of the state” message to legislators today. During an interview last week with Radio Iowa, Vilsack said he’d use today’s speech to paint a positive picture. Vilsack said “progress is being made; our state is being transformed.” He says while some of the state’s recent economic development efforts are now beginning to bear fruit, there are challenges ahead in transforming the Iowa economy. Vilsack sent lawmakers a letter yesterday, offering a pretty dour picture of the state budget if taxes aren’t raised. Vilsack says “after three consecutive years of cuts in services critical to Iowans,” a budget without some sort of tax increase “will sacrifice Iowa’s national standing in education and Iowa’s distinction as the best place to raise a child.” During last week’s interview, Vilsack wouldn’t offer details — he said he doesn’t want the media to “filter” the message he’ll deliver in person today — but the governor did say the budget outline he’ll present lawmakers will concentrate resources on education, public safety and health care. Vilsack said he wants to assure Iowans he has a plan that will protect those priorities.Vilsack said he’s offering a “practical approach” that is fair, Republican’s control the Legislature’s debate agenda, and Senate President-elect Jeff Lamberti, a republican from Ankeny, says Vilsack’s off-base in hinting at the need for tax increases.Lamberti says he’s “a little disappointed with the lack of optimism” from Vilsack. Lamberti says it’s not as if the state is in “crisis mode.” Lamberti says Vilsack’s letter focused on all the state’s problems.Lamberti says it was short on solutions. Lamberti says “simply saying the sky is going to fall is not a whole lot of leadership.” Lamberti says the state can get through this, without tax increases.
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