The Rebuild Iowa Commission is proposing a plant to allow the governor could tap into the state’s "Rainy Day" fund without calling a special session of the Iowa Legislature. Commission member Brett Halling of Perry, says in a true emergency, the governor should be able to use a portion of the state’s savings account without legislative approval.
"When you wake up in the morning and your house is gone, you don’t want to wait six months to have something done, and the money is there to get something done, so why not use it," Halling says. Some commission members propose creating a special savings account the governor could tap into when there’s a presidential disaster declaration.
Halling says that fund is already there. Halling says why do you need to create another fund when there’s one already available. He says if you have a disaster the magnitude that Iowa had and you aren’t going to use the fund, he wants to know what would have to happen so you would use the fund. Halling says the recent disaster was a good example of how the fund could be used.
Halling says,"When there’s ten feet of water in downtown Cedar Rapids and there isn’t a need in people’s minds to access the rainy day funds I guess I’d like to know what magnitude of disaster it has to be. Maybe it’s twelve feet of water." Culver did not call a special legislative session to deal with the disaster, but did set up the "Jumpstart" program to spend state money for recovery until federal funds come in.
Legislative aides say it’s unlikely state lawmakers will approve new spending authority for the governor, even for emergency spending. They say the governor has already re-allocated 70-million dollars for disaster relief without needing legislative approval.