Governor Chet Culver says he’ll outline some “big, bold” proposals in the annual “Condition of the State” address he’s scheduled to deliver later this morning to legislators.
During an interview with Radio Iowa on Monday afternoon, Culver said there are “many critically important” issues the state must address; he hopes to outline a “game plan” in the speech. Culver indicated he’ll have something new to reveal as well.
“There is a big surprise, but you know I can’t tell you,” Culver said. “There will be some big, bold initiatives because that’s what people expect.”
According to Culver, he’s gone as far as he can on his own in streamlining state government and it’s time for legislators to consider ideas like a four-day work week for some state agencies.
“We have tough, tough choices to make,” Culver said. “I don’t think there’s ever been a more important time to take these big, bold steps because when we do, it will set us up for a stronger future with a leaner government and a balanced budget, most importantly.”
Iowans who believe gay marriage is among the most important issues facing the state plan to flood the statehouse for Culver’s speech. Opponents of gay marriage plan to sit in the balconies overlooking the House of Representatives, where Culver is scheduled to stand as he speaks. Last spring, in the same spot, gay marriage opponents yelled, “Let us vote!” at legislators.
Culver expects his overall reception in the House today to be “upbeat” and “optimistic” rather than confrontational.
“I speak all over the state and 99 percent of the time people are respectful, they’re civil and that’s what I expect,” Culver said. “It’s healthy to have divergent views come to this capitol building. I mean, that’s one of the great things about this country is that people have a voice and they are allowed to publicly speak up and out on every issue — and that’s what I expect to see a lot of this session.”
During today’s speech, Culver will talk about the report seven of his state agency managers issued last Friday outlining proposed changes in how certain state tax credits are administered, but the governor will not endorse the recommendations. He’ll merely ask legislators to review the report.
“I look forward to making changes where they’re necessary,” Culver said during his interview with Radio Iowa.
Culver’s not yet calling for an outright end to the state tax credit for filmmakers, either — something his own agency managers endorsed last week.
As for a general theme for today’s speech, Culver offers this as a preview: “Despite challenges that remain and a lot of obstacles that we still have to overcome related to natural disasters and our economic downturn, we’re positioning ourselves for a bright future.”
Culver, a Democrat, will seek a second term as governor in the November election.