The Iowa Democratic Party has launched a countdown clock on its website that’s marking the days and hours to a possible state government shutdown if the budget stalemate at the capitol doesn’t end.
The clock has touched a nerve for House Speaker Kraig Paulsen, a Republican from Hiawatha, who says the governor and House Republicans are committed to keeping state government running.
“I don’t have the slightest idea why the Democrats think it’s a good idea to be talking about and pushing us towards a shutdown,” Paulsen said. “Right now I’m going to continue towards work resolving this.” Paulsen says there won’t be a government shutdown, but admits it would get the public’s attention.
“I think most Iowans expect us to do our work and they’re busy with graduation, baseball games, and getting their golf game under control,” Paulsen says, “At some point they will obviously begin to pay attention because it would have a direct impact, whether it’s the parks being potentially closed or something like that.”
Governor Branstad said again today that Democrats have to understand “there’s a new sheriff in town” and said it’s ridiculous to speculate that state government will shut down on July first when the current fiscal year ends.
A spokesman for the Democratic Party issued this statement on the clock:
“We are echoing the concerns of Iowans who know the state can’t afford drastic cuts to education and workforce development. Defunding schools across the state, lowering the quality of education and raising property taxes should not be an option, the countdown clock is meant to show where Governor Branstad is leading us.
“Of course, we realize the devastating impact a shutdown would have on Iowa and hope it doesn’t come to that. As Governor Branstad continues to feel serious opposition to his plan and watch as his approval rating drops, I believe he will realize that it’s time to lead and reach a compromise that doesn’t damage the state by shutting it down.”
“Until Governor Branstad shows a serious commitment to addressing the concerns of Iowans, we will continue to inform them about what’s at stake and where his priorities lie.”