Governor Culver says he will outline millions of dollars in cuts in executive branch operations before he leaves office in mid-January.
Governor-elect Terry Branstad becomes governor on January 14, 2011, but a bill that passed the Iowa legislature this past spring requires the person is who Iowa’s governor this December to come up with a plan that reduces staffing or cuts other administrative costs by nearly $84 million.
“We will fulfill that responsibility and make it clear where those savings will be before I leave office,” Culver says.
The plan is to cover the remaining six months of the state fiscal year, which ends on June 30, 2011. “We’ll lay out the entire plan in the coming days and weeks,” Culver says.
Not filling vacancies in the state’s executive branch is part of it. “We had about 2300 people, state employees, that took advantage of early retirement,” Culver says. “There’s never been an intention to fill all of those, so that’s one of the areas where we’re going to save funds.”
Earlier this year Culver said the state should hire enough people to fill about half the vacancies created by those early retirements. Last spring, long-time state workers were offered financial incentives and health care coverage for up to five years if they retired early. Over 2000 took the deal and Culver said the move saved state government about $60 million in salaries that would have been paid to those long-time employees. To be eligible, a worker had to have worked for state government for at least a decade and be at least 55 years old.