Republicans are criticizing Democratic Governor Chet Culver’s “I-JOBS” initiative, specifically the money reserved for flood and disaster recovery projects. Representative Pat Grassley, a Republican from New Hartford, says about a fifth of that money went to projects that had nothing to do with helping rebuild after the floods of 2008.
“Even on the I-JOBS website it says that in a very transparent manner,” Grassley says.
In early 2009, Governor Culver asked legislators to enact his “I-JOBS” initiative as a state-level economic stimulus. The legislature approved the plan, which eventually saw the state borrow $830 million to finance a variety of projects, including about $100 million for flood recovery on the University of Iowa campus. Earlier this month during the annual “Condition of the State” address, Culver said he was “proud” of the I-JOBS initiative and he praised the Democratic legislators who supported it.
“A yes vote on I-JOBS was a yes vote for flood victims. A yes vote on I-JOBS was a vote to rebuild our economy!” Culver said. “A yes vote on I-JOBS was a vote for businesses and communities as they struggle to get back on their feet!”
Culver’s staff used exclamation points in the draft of that section of Culver’s speech. Grassley says the governor need to explain why $22 million in the I-JOBS program that had been reserved for disaster relief was used instead for unrelated projects, like a community center for the Des Moines suburb of Windsor Heights and renovation of the City Hall in the Sioux City suburb of Sergeant Bluffs. Grassley says neither of those projects had anything to do with disaster recovery.
“When the governor’s out touting this as being a flood and disaster recovery bill — and then you go and look at the meat and potatoes of the bill and that clearly is not a priority, it should have been set out that disaster recovery came first,” Grassley says.
Every Republican in the legislature voted against the I-JOBS plan last year. A report outlining the number of jobs created through the program is due in February.