Iowa Governor Chet Culver says the economic stimulus package approved today by the U.S. House, and expected to be approved by the Senate, will not change his state budget proposal. The Governor has proposed a 6.5% across the board cut for most state agencies.
Culver says the federal bill will likely mean cutting less deeply in education and health care, but it’s up to state lawmakers to determine the specifics. Culver says it will still be a "very tough budgeting process" with cuts and belt tightening. Culver says the state will have a balanced budget that is responsible and fair.
The Governor also has proposed a $700-million infrastructure rebuilding and jobs initiative. He says he’ll finalize that proposal and the amount of state bonding needed to fund it, once the ink is dry on the stimulus bill.
Cutting the number of school districts to make them more efficient is an idea proposed by Des Moines lawmaker. Governor Culver says consolidation is best left to local school officials. Culver says there are already incentives that have encourage districts to come together, but he says it’s a local decision and should remain a local decision.
The proposal by Senator Matt McCoy, a Democrat from Des Moines, would target schools with under 750 students. Culver made his comments on Iowa Public Radio’s Talk at Twelve program today.