Lieutenant Governor Patty Judge went to western Iowa Wednesday to tout state “I-JOBS” grants for three projects, while a Republican candidate for governor raised more questions about the program. The City of Council Bluffs is getting a $3.8 million I-JOBS grant to help finance construction of a new building that will house all of the city’s public works operations.
The lieutenant governor told a midday crowd in Council Bluffs that the state has a role in trying to stimulate the economy and the I-JOBS grants accomplish that goal. “Governor Culver and I know and believe strongly that you can’t just sit back and wait for things to fix themselves,” Judge said. “We really have to chart our own course, take charge of our own future and that’s why we created the I-JOBS initiative to do just that.”
The I-JOBS grant was matched by the City of Council Bluffs and Judge touted the construction jobs connected to the project. “Governor Culver and I know that while we’re working hard in Des Moines to try to turn things around every day, we can’t do that alone,” Judge said. “We know we don’t do things alone. We do things with partners and if we’re going to get shovels in the ground, if we’re going to get paychecks in the pockets of Iowans, we have to have those partners on a local level.”
Judge visited Glidden Wednesday afternoon to tout the $287,500 I-JOBS grant the small, Carroll County town is getting for a storm water project. Judge was in the Sioux City suburb of Sergeant Bluff Wednesday morning. Republican gubernatorial candidate Chris Rants of Sioux City is critical of the quarter-of-a-million dollar I-JOBS grant Sergeant Bluff got.
“We were going to spend $500,000 to remodel the (Sergeant Bluff) City Hall…and along comes Lieutenant Governor Judge with a check for $250,000,” Rants says. “But the problem is two weeks ago, Governor Culver cut the funding for the school district in Sergeant Bluff by $655,000 — so Patty Judge may giveth, but Chet Culver taketh away.”
The governor ordered a 10%, across-the-board cut in the state budget in October. Rants has said often over the past 10 months that it makes no sense to add to the state’s precarious fiscal position by borrowing millions for these I-JOBS grants.
“It may look great for Governor Culver and Patty Judge to hand out
grants and, you know, get on television and do press releases, but the fact is the taxpayers are the ones who are getting hammered because of their actions,” Rants says.
Rants is a state representative whose district includes the city of Sergeant Bluffs.