The Republican state auditor is accusing the state’s Democratic governor of failing to submit a balanced budget plan to the legislature in January. State Auditor Dave Vaudt says Governor Culver’s entire state spending outline is $400 million “out of balance.”
“I can write 1+1=3 on a sheet of paper, but we all know it doesn’t work,” Vaudt says. “And that’s where we’re at with this budget.”
Vaudt faults Culver to failing to provide enough money in his budget plan to match his spending promises to K-through-12 public schools. Vaudt says it’s a $270 million gap that will force schools to either raise property taxes or lay off more staff. Vaudt also disputes the budget-cutting estimates Culver included in his spending plan. The auditor says at least one of the ideas has never been implemented in any state and there may be too many legal hurdles to getting it implemented in Iowa.
“The governor probably had very good intentions, but good intentions doesn’t get you the right answer,” Vaudt says.
Vaudt will ask the state’s attorney general whether Culver should submit a new budget plan to legislators.
“Regretfully, the governor’s budget numbers just don’t add up,” Vaudt says.
Culver is standing by his plan.
“The budget that I submitted to the legislature was smaller than the one that I inherited,” Culver says, “so we’re reducing the size of government. We’re making it more lean. We’re making it more efficient.”
Culver says the state budget has been balanced “every single day that I’ve been governor,” and Culver suggests Vaudt’s criticism is politically-motivated.
“It’s easy to take little political shots from the sidelines,” Culver says. “I’m gettin’ the job done every day.”
Earlier today, Culver signed a bill that provides early retirement incentives to long-time employees in the executive branch of state government. Culver says it’ll save $60 million. Vaudt says that savings isn’t correctly calculated in Culver’s budget plan.