Governor Tom Vilsack says Republican legislators failed to provide enough money for state workers salaries, and that’s why he shifted 15-million dollars from the state Medicaid program to meet payroll expenses. Republican House Speaker Christopher Rants of Sioux City last week accused Vilsack of spending like a “runaway train” this summer. Vilsack says Rants and other Republicans knew the score. Vilsack says Republican legislators shortchanged the budget, and he would have had to lay off “several hundred” state workers if he hadn’t taken the action he did. Vilsack says the state’s already reduced its workforce nine percent in the past couple of years, and additional layoffs would be unwise. Vilsack says staff reductions in child welfare programs or the state’s prison system were unacceptable to him. Vilsack says he’s not going to put people’s safety at risk. Republicans are threatening to pass legislation which would make it harder for Vilsack to use his authority to transfer funds from one state program to another, but Vilsack says he won’t sign it into law. Vilsack says he’s not interested in giving up any of his own authority, or the authority of any governor who may follow.
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