Governor Chet Culver and the rest of the nation’s governors are asking congress to include some money for states in an economic stimulus package. "The problem is is that right now, that $12 billion is not on the table. It’s not in the package and we’re fighting to get it in there," Culver says.
Culver spoke last night with a top leader in the U.S. House who’s involved in negotiations with the White House on a bill that includes tax rebates and other steps which backers hope will provide a jump start to the economy.
According to Culver, the National Governors Association wants 12-billion dollars added in the stimulus package, half of which would go to help states pay for the rising costs of Medicaid. "That would basically ease some of the responsibilities we have based on built-in health related costs, kind of supplement our budget," he says.
Next week, Culver will be among a handful of governors who’ll attend a retreat in Virginia for the Democrats who serve in the U.S. House. Culver is the "federal government liaison" for the nation’s 28 governors. Culver says layoffs at major Iowa employers like Pella, Wells Fargo, Citicorp and Winnebago are of concern.
"While we’re doing well in some sectors, including the bioeconomy…we do have some concerns in other areas," Culver says. According to Culver, those Wells Fargo layoffs will be scrutinized as part of an "on-going effort" to ensure the company’s job creation goals are meeting the terms of a 10-million dollar state economic development grant.
Also next week, Culver plans to meet with state legislative leaders to discuss the status of Iowa’s economy. He’s going to press state lawmakers to hold off on developing a state economic stimulus package until what’s happening at the federal level is clear.
"I’m hoping that they might be willing to make some calls to Washington in terms of the Republican leadership of the congress to urge them to make this $12 billion a part of the package," Culver says.
Culver made his comments during an interview today with Radio Iowa.