Democratic legislators are beginning to draft bills to implement the $700 million economic "stimulus" package Governor Culver has been touting, while Republicans seem poised to vote against the plan.
"Washington, D.C. has a bailout fever," Senate Republican Leader Paul McKinley says, "and I’m concerned that Governor Culver has caught the sniffles."
McKinley says Culver’s plan has a major flaw. "There is a difference between creating work and creating jobs," McKinley says. "Many of these so-called bailouts involve creating work and when the work is over, the job is gone. We’re more interested in creating jobs that are sustainable and long-lasting."
House Republican Leader Kraig Paulsen of Hiawatha says he hasn’t seen any details, but he’s already skeptical. "Look, House Republicans are not going to vote to go out and borrow money to build bike trails," Paulsen says.
House Speaker Pat Murphy, a Democrat from Dubuque, says small groups of Democratic lawmakers are meeting with the governor’s staff to iron out the details of a state-level stimulus. "I think you’ll see two separate bill at this point," Murphy says. "As to the dollar amounts, I think it’ll be roughly $700 million, but there are some other discussions that have to occur before we get to that point."
Senate Democratic Leader Mike Gronstal of Council Bluffs says there is "broad support" from Democrats in the House and Senate for the governor’s proposal to borrow $700 million for infrastructure projects. "We said from the start we’re very interested in doing disaster recovery better than any state in the union. That’s going to require an effort by us to put together a bonding proposal and we look forward to doing that," Gronstal says. "That will probably take a while, you know, that’s not going to get done as quickly as some of these other things."