Republicans were quick to criticize Democrat Chet Culver’s outline for state spending. Governor Culver revealed his budget draft on Wednesday afternoon. It relies heavily on state government reorganization plans. Culver’s counting on those efforts to wring over 340 million dollars worth of savings out of state government. Republicans like House Minority Leader Kraig Paulsen of Hiawatha says that’s no small task.
“I think there’s a fair amount of ‘pie in the sky’ with that number,” Paulsen says. “But, look, House Republicans last year offered $300 million-plus, so, let’s get to work and see if we can find it.” Paulsen and other Republicans say the governor’s budget draft also calls for spending more money than the state will actually collect in taxes this coming year.
“The bottom line is state government is still too big, his budget spends too much money and taxes are too high,” Paulsen says. State Ag Secretary Bill Northey, a Republican, issued a statement early Wednesday evening, saying Culver’s budget sketch for the Department of Agriculture is so lean it will force him lay off as many as 50 workers. Culver told reporters earlier on Wednesday that his budget plan would not lead to layoffs.