The president of the union which represents the largest share of state workers says it’s time to raise taxes, or at least do away with some tax breaks, but Governor Chet Culver says no. Danny Homan, president of AFSCME Iowa Council 61, says state workers who are members of his union have agreed to pay and benefit concessions in 2002, in 2003 and again this year and state officials shouldn’t ask them for more concessions in 2010.
“We have stepped up to the plate and I don’t believe our membership is willing to do it again,” Homan says. Homan says he is willing to mention the “T” word — and Homan argues there some state tax breaks that could be rescinded. “I believe one of them involves airplanes,” Homan says. “I don’t see the common Iowa citizen running around with an airplane and I think anybody that owns one ought to be able to pay taxes on the cotton-pickin’ thing.”
Governor Culver recently ordered a review of state tax credits after problems with the state tax credit for film and TV productions came to light and Culver says it’s possible some tax credits might be on the chopping block. “However, with respect to increasing taxes I have said that during a recession — especially a recession — I don’t think it’s the appropriate thing to do, to raise taxes on hard-working Iowans at a time when most of them are already struggling to pay the mortgage, to pay rent, to pay their utility bills, to buy food at the grocery store and to put gasoline or ethanol in the tank,” Culver says.
Another issue the union leader has been pressing Culver to address is part of the “understanding” between union members and the governor. Culver says there’s an effort to reduce the number of middle managers in state agencies. The union has complained there are too many managers and not enough front-line workers.