State law stipulates that Iowa’s governor is to present a budget outline to state legislators by the end of January. Governors, on occasion, have delivered their budget plan to lawmakers earlier in the month on the same day as the governor’s annual “Condition of the State” message. But Governor Culver plans to take all the time he can this year.
Dick Oshlo, interim director of the Iowa Department of Management, is the governor’s top budget advisor. “Obviously, this is a difficult budget year,” Oshlo says. Legislators pass a final version of the state budget in late spring, but the governor submits a draft to legislators in January outlining the governor’s spending priorities.
Troy Price, the Governor Culver’s press secretary, suggests this is no time to rush. “The governor’s going to take the time that he needs to introduce a budget that is balanced and protects the priorities of Iowans,” Price says. “It’s a very difficult budget year, so he’s going to take the time that is required to do that.” The governor is given the option of giving two formal speeches to legislators in January. The first — on the second day of the legislative session — is a “Condition of the State” address.
The second is a Budget Address, which can be delivered on the same day the governor submits his budget outline to legislators. Former Governor Terry Branstad ended the practice of delivering a “Budget Address” during the latter part of his 16-year tenure as governor and his successor, Governor Tom Vilsack, did not opt to give a formal address when he submitted his budget plans to legislators either.