A new report about state government debt concludes Iowa’s debt was the second lowest in the country in 2009, but the report is prompting more sparring between Governor Culver and former Governor Branstad, with Branstad’s campaign manager accusing Culver of deception.
A report by Moody’s Investors Service concludes the level of state debt is about $73 per person in Iowa. That is a fraction of the national median, which is more than $900.
Democratic Governor Chet Culver says the report is a “testament” to “very careful and cautious budgeting and spending” during his first term as governor. Culver’s Republican opponent, Terry Branstad, has repeatedly criticized Culver for borrowing over $800 million to finance infrastructure projects. Culver says this new report shows “even after (borrowing) for desperatefuly needed infrastructure investments through I-JOBS,” the state maintains one of the lowest debt levels in the country.
But Branstad’s campaign manager says the Moody’s analysis did not include the money borrowed for I-JOBS. Jeff Boeyink, Branstad’s campaign manager, says the report gives a “significantly distorted view” of state government debt.
“It gives people a false sense that we’re a low debt state when, in fact, we have grossly grown our debt just in the last year,” Boeyink says.
Boeyink accuses Culver of trying to “deceive Iowans about the true cost of his massive borrow and spend programs” in state government. “It’s just a pattern with his administration of not being honest with Iowans about the true financial situation in the state,” Boeyink says.
(This story was updated at 3:56 p.m.)