Governor Chet Culver says a special legislative session this fall to cut the state budget is unlikely. Culver, instead, suggests he may order an across-the-board cut in state spending. “That’s what I’ve done before. We had an across-the-board cut last year which is something that, you know, I will seriously consider doing,” Culver says. “And I can do that without calling a special session. I have executive authority to do that.”
A three-member panel of experts will meet in early October to come up with an updated picture of state finances, including an estimate of state tax revenue for the current state budgeting year. “This Revenues Estimating Conference is so important so we can determine precisely where we are based on good numbers and a complete picture of the first quarter of Fiscal Year ’10,” Culver says. “You know, I’ve done it before and I’ll do it again in terms of making any and all cuts necessary to balance the budget.”
Culver, a Democrat, intends to seek reelection in 2010. Republicans who’re running for governor have called on Culver to convene a special legislative session this fall to come up with a series of deep but selective cuts in state spending. Culver on Tuesday again rejected that idea.
“Just like we’ve done in the past we will balance this budget, we will find ways to do more with less and we’ll continue to deliver services,” Culver told reporters. Culver is sending a signal to state agency managers, though, saying the state budget for next year will be “less than the status quo” because he will not raise taxes.
“We’re going to have to tighten the belt even more, there’s no question, based on what we’ve seen in the first part of the fiscal year,” Culver says. Culver made his comments yesterday during a five-minute question-and-answer session with reporters after an event in Johnston.