The man who will be Governor-elect Terry Branstad’s budget director says state employees can be “part of the solution” to trimming the state budget.
Dave Roederer, who is also leading Branstad’s transition team, says deep cuts must be made in next year’s state budget, in part because the state won’t be getting any “stimulus” money from the federal government next year.
“The severity of our budget problem — anywhere from half a billion to $700 million that we’re facing in the upcoming fiscal year — if you project that out over the next five years it only gets worse,” Roederer says.
Branstad has signaled he wants to reopen negotiations on the salary and benefit deal out-going Governor Chet Culver struck with AFSCME — the union representing the largest share of state workers. Roederer says Branstad is considering a “variety of options” when it comes to contract talks. According to Roederer, Branstad also wants the unions to present their own cost-cutting proposals.
“They have great ideas and we believe that it’s not always on the wage side and the benefits or whatever it may be — I mean, that’s a component of it, but they’re the ones that are in the trenches,” Roederer says. “They’re the ones that are working every day and we believe they have excellent ideas, will have excellent ideas on how to save money.”
A spokesman for the AFSCME union says when Terry Branstad becomes Governor, the union “will have whatever meeting the governor requests and will treat that request just as it has with previous administrations.”
Roederer made his comments this morning during taping of the Iowa Public Television program “Iowa Press” which airs tonight at 7:30.