Republican lawmakers say they’re "leery" of having the state borrow $700 million dollars, as Governor Culver proposes, to finance infrastructure projects. Culver made the recommendation this morning in his "Condition of the State" message, arguing that not only roads and bridges, but sewers, water treatment plants, hiking and biking trails as well as utility lines must be updated for the 21st century.
House Republican Leader Kraig Paulsen of Hiawatha isn’t so sure the state should borrow that much. "Iowans don’t go out and max out their credit cards just because they can," Paulsen says. Paulsen’s also reluctant to create a new state commission to determine which infrastructure projects get the money. "I’m not sure why we’re growing government to make these decisions that we already have mechanisms in place to deal with," Paulsen says.
Governor Culver proposes using state gambling taxes as the collateral for borrowing the $700 million. Republican legislative leaders say a portion of gambling taxes paid to the state are already being spent elsewhere, and they have doubts about that part of Culver’s plan, too.
But while Senate Republican Leader Paul McKinley of Chariton says Republicans want more details about Culver’s proposal, they aren’t ready to say, ‘No go’ to what the Democratic governor proposed this morning, especially disaster relief.
"We pledge to work with the governor," McKinley says. "We appreciate his attention to the problem and we’re ready and willing to work in whatever way we can." Both Republican leaders say they hope to move quickly on the governor’s proposal to dip into the state’s "rainy day" fund to finance repairs in the flood zone