Governor Branstad says he’s keeping his 2010 campaign promise to shrink the size of state government and reduce the number of state employees, but a new report shows there’s been an increase in the number of full-time workers on the state payroll during Branstad’s current term as governor.
“Governor Branstad has a problem in trying to reconcile all of the promises he’s made to what’s real,” says Jack Hatch, the Democrat who is running against Branstad.
A document from the Legislative Services Agency shows the number of state employees grew by 3500 during the first two years of Branstad’s current term. Branstad says he’s cut the workforce in the executive branch by over a thousand during the past three years, but Branstad says he cannot control hiring decisions in the other branches of state government OR at the three state universities. Almost 3900 new employees were hired at Iowa, Iowa State and U-N-I during the first two years of Branstad’s current term, but Hatch says those hires were Branstad’s to oversee.
“It’s an inadequate response when the governor of this state, the CEO of our state government, blames other people for his inability to manage the state,” Hatch says. “He appoints the Regents. He has significiant influence over the growth of this state budget.”
The size of the state budget has grown by half a billion dollars over the past two years, but Branstad says he never promised to cut overall state spending by 15 percent.
“What we’ve done, and I want to point this out. we’ve reduced the size and cost of state government and redirected more of the money to education and to property tax relief,” Branstad says.
Branstad says he believes that’s the expectation voters had back in 2010 when he was reelected to a fifth term.
“I think they wanted us to reduce the size and cost of state government, not cut education and not raise taxes,” Branstad says, “and we did exactly what we promised to the voters.”
As for the other two branches of state government, the number of employees in the legislative branch has declined by six percent over the past five years. The state’s court system saw a 17 percent reduction in staff over a 10 year period, but during the first two years of Branstad’s current term 23 more employees were hired in the judicial branch of state government.