Iowa’s governor is using three cryptic words to describe the core functions of state government. Governor Chet Culver says the state is primarily in the business to “incarcerate, educate and medicate.”
About 60 percent of the state budget is spent on education, with the state providing support to K-through-12 public schools and the three public universities in Ames, Cedar Falls and Iowa City.
As for the “incarcerate” part, the State of Iowa operates nine prisons which house over 8000 inmates.
Finally, to the third part of Culver’s statement, the state spends well over half a billion dollars on Medicaid. That’s the government program which provides health care coverage to needy and disabled Americans and, yes, the program provides them with prescription medications.
Culver says the cuts he’s ordered in state government have created “pain” and it’s time to reorganize agencies and enact other efficiencies.
“We primarily incarcerate, educate and medicate. That’s what we do. That’s where most of our budget goes to and we’re still trying to do a really good job in those three areas,” Culver said last week at a forum organized by the Associated Press. “But we’re going to have to change the way…we deliver those services and find efficiencies or make additional cuts — and I think we’ve gone pretty far in the cuts.”
Culver, a Democrat, said he expects to get some support from Republican legislators in the effort to “streamline” state government.
“I think there’s actually going to be a fair amount of bipartisan consensus on a number of these big-ticket items that will require legislative approval,” Culver said. “For example, the early retirement package…could save us $30- to 50-million in the first year.”