Iowa’s outgoing Democratic governor dismisses charges from Republicans who say they cannot trust him on a bid to redo a property rights bill because the governor went back on a deal over teacher pay.
Governor Tom Vilsack says he violated no agreement when he used his item veto authority to ax out a section of the bill which would have created a new commission to establish first-ever guidelines for how to pay teachers based on classroom performance.
“The deal which was struck on teacher pay was on the amount (and) on the number of years. There was never ever any discussion in the room about the nature of the committee established to put together the model,” Vilsack says. “We have a committee working on this that is headed by Marvin Pomerantz who the last time I checked was a fairly prominent Republican whose concerns are mine which is the best interests of Iowa’s children. This committee I think will do a better job of looking at this issue.”
Last Friday, State Senator Bob Brunkhorst — a Republican from Waverly, said Republicans aren’t inclined to trust Vilsack’s word when it comes to a deal on the property rights issue because he went back on a deal over teacher pay. “We believed we had a handshake…on that. My members are telling me ‘Bob, why negotiate with a governor on eminent domain when, dang it, he vetoed our stuff that we’d agreed to,” Brunkhorst said as he slammed his hand on the lectern during a statehouse news conference earlier this afternoon. “So (Vilsack) needs to make some wrongs right.”
Vilsack says he’s committed no wrongs that need to be righted. “There just was not a deal and Senator Brunkhorst, with all due respect, was not in the room when the deal was struck so I’m not sure how he knows what the deal was,” Vilsack says. But Republican leaders in the Senate who were in the room says the governor’s wrong and Vilsack did renege on a deal.
Republicans are trying to get Democrats to join in voting to over-ride Vilsack’s veto of the bill which limited local government’s authority to seize private property for economic development projects.
Vilsack and other Democrats have been trying to avoid that. “We’ve proposed and suggested a fix, an improvement to the bill,” Vilsack says. “It’s up to the legislature to decide whether they want to do that or not. If they don’t, then they have the option to override a veto, which is part of the process.” Vilsack says he’s “worked really hard” to get along with legislators from both political parties.