The top Democrat on the Iowa House Appropriations Committee says it was Democrats who laid the groundwork for today’s billion dollar state budget surplus.
Republican Governor Terry Branstad repeatedly says he had to “clean up” a budget mess when he took over in January of 2011. Representative Tyler Olson, a Democrat from Cedar Rapids, says the actual numbers tell a different story.
“It’s very clear that the strong financial situation that we’re in began with tough decisions that were made in the 2009 and 2010 legislative sessions,” Olson says.
Olson says that’s when Democrats were in control of the legislature, and Democrat Chet Culver was governor. Olson points to data from the non-partisan Legislative Services Agency that shows the budget plans those Democrats drew up in 2009 resulted in a $335 million surplus by July 1st of 2010 — more than six months before Branstad became governor.
“The facts are clear that Democrats in 2009 and 2010 set the table for the strong financial situation that we’re in today,” Olson says.
Republicans counter that Democrats drew up budget plans that were bloated and had to use “one-time” sources of money, like the federal “stimulus” money, to plug budget holes during 2009 and 2010. The GOP also points to the 10-percent across-the-board budget cut Governor Culver ordered in October of 2009 as more evidence of Democrat overspending.