Iowa’s Governor says he needs a better explanation of why gasoline prices are so high. Vilsack says petroleum marketers contact his office saying there could be some increases, but Vilsack says the increases haven’t been uniform.Governor Tom Vilsack says he’s troubled there’s such a wide range of prices even in Iowa, where gas is selling anywhere from a buck-50 to a dollar-85. He says if the refinery issue is key, then the retailers should be doing something to fix the issue.Vilsack says there are a few options the state could take. For example, the state could prosecute gas stations if it’s found they are colluding with one another to artificially keep prices higher. Vilsack says if prices stay high for the next three or four weeks, he’ll ask petroleum marketers to come up with a better explanation of why gas is so pricey.Vilsack says he hopes his recent trip to Africa puts Iowa in on the “ground floor” in selling grain to Nigeria and South Africa. There are currently crop shortages in both countries.Vilsack says he’s seen poverty before, but never on such a widespread scale.The provost of Iowa State University was along for the trip, and Vilsack says there will be an exchange of scientists and students between African universities and I-S-U as a result of the visit. Vilsack is reviewing his options to deal with a possible state budget shortfall. Vilsack says he may order selected budget cuts, but will not cut the amount of state aid that’s to be forwarded to Iowa’s public schools this academic year.Vilsack says Iowa is in much better shape, financially, than other states like New York and Missouri which are grappling with drastic budget cuts.Vilsack says Iowa still has a half a billion dollar budget surplus, as is required by law, and there’s no need for Iowa’s political leaders to over-react.
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