Legislative reaction to Governor Culver’s $750 million borrowing plan to finance construction and renovation projects around the state is mixed. Republicans are cool to the Democratic governor’s proposal, while Democrats like Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal of Council Bluffs view Culver’s proposal as a starting point.
"We think it’s got a lot of good ideas in it and we are going to work with the governor on finding common ground," Gronsal says. "The problem isn’t the governor. The problem is Republicans. Republicans keep saying, ‘No," to any proposal to improve our economy."
Senate Republican Leader Paul McKinley of Chariton says the state shouldn’t be racking up more debt. "That’s what got us into this mess and it’s what will keep us into this mess," McKinley says. "You cannot borrow and spend your way out of the poor economy."
On Wednesday night, Democrats in the Iowa Senate approved a bill which would see the state borrow $175 million to finance construction and renovation projecs which were already on the docket, but a previous funding plan failed to produce enough money to cover all the expenses.
"The Democrats are talking about spending, borrowing to spend, taxing to spend and then repeating the process all over again," McKinley says, "and it simply is unsustainable."
Gronstal, the Senate Democratic Leader, defends the $175 million plan that passed the senate last night. "That legislation will provide for creating up to 5000 jobs in this state," Gronstal says. "…It will also finish our work on the Iowa Veterans Home so we can continue to care for Iowa veterans…It will build a number of prison facilities in the state of Iowa. We think that is the right thing to do and the response of the Republicans has been: ‘No, no, no’ — no to new jobs, no to locking up criminals and no to honoring and serving and protecting our veterans in this state."
Click on the audio link below to listen to Gronstal’s news conference this morning, followed the news conference featuring Republican legislative leaders.