It appears legislators and the governor have reached an agreement on a state government reorganization bill that might save as much as $128 million. 

The Iowa Senate passed the package Thursday and House Democratic Leader Kevin McCarthy of Des Moines says the House will take it up soon. “There is agreement from the people that have been working on this from the House and the Senate and the governor’s office and the Senate just finished their work on the bill,” McCarthy says. “We hope early this coming week to finish our work on the package.” 

A package of incentives to get long-time employees in the executive branch of state government to retire early was enacted earlier this month.  That could save up to $60 million in salaries according to some estimates.  McCarthy says those early retirement incentives, combined with the state government reorganization plan and some of the actions Governor Culver has taken through executive order add up to nearly $270 million in savings.

“That’s something we’re very pleased with because we set out at the beginning of this session with the hope of around $250 million and we’re going to exceed that,” McCarthy says. “So a quarter of a billion dollars in real savings that will help us lessen our cuts to education, health care and our other priorities.”

House Republican Leader Kraig Paulsen of Hiawatha says it’s likely Republicans in the House will vote for the government restructuring bill next week when it comes up for a vote.  “No question, it’s a step in the right direction.  House Republicans support the move,” Paulsen says. “…We don’t think it goes far enough.” 

Paulsen says Republicans have offered additional budget-cutting ideas and will continue to do so throughout the remainder of the legislative session as other bills are developed that outline spending plans for state agencies.  As for the estimate of cost savings in the government reorganization bill, Paulsen says he’ll wait ’til the non-partisan Legislative Services Agency offers its analysis of the plan next week. 

Paulsen and McCarthy made their comments this morning during taping of the Iowa Public Television program, “Iowa Press,” which airs tonight at 7:30.