Governor Terry Branstad said today he will ensure the government won’t shut down if the legislature does not reach an agreement on a new budget before the end of the fiscal year on June 30th.
Branstad, a Republican, said at his weekly meeting with reporters, he will use the powers of his office to keep vital government services running if legislators don’t meet the deadline.
“What people need to know is, this governor has dealt with a lot of emergencies and I don’t like to deal with emergencies, but if you have one, I’ve never been afraid to act and do what’s necessary to protect the safety and the well being of the citizens of this state,” Branstad said, “and we will do it on a short term basis until the legislature fulfills its responsibility.”
Branstad said talk of the shut down is still premature. He says we have not reached the end of the year and the legislature “has the time and the ability to fulfill its responsibilities, and I’m confident they will.” Branstad was peppered with questions by reporters about the details of how he would handle a shut down and how he would keep the government running. He said he was not going to talk about the details.
Branstad says “there’s not gonna be a shut down” and he says the point if the legislature fails to act they will focus on providing the services the public needs using “emergency powers” to keep the government running. He says instead of focusing on the negative, he is focusing on the positive and is confident that legislators are going to get the budget done. “And I know it is not easy.”
Branstad’s staff said last week that there is not a written plan for the potential shut down, and Branstad reiterated that again today.
“There is no written plan,” Branstad says, “I do in my own mind understand that in times of emergency the governor can and will act, and I always have, and I will if that happens, and you’ll see that on the 30th.”
Branstad says until that time they are focusing on getting a budget passed that is sustainable and will focus on the long term. Branstad says he is pleased Democrats presented a new budget proposal Monday. He says he does not like the fact they do not fully fund Medicaid and says property tax relief has to be addressed.