Ron Corbett

Cedar Rapids Mayor Ron Corbett, a candidate for governor, says former Republican Governor Terry Branstad and current Governor Kim Reynolds have boxed GOP legislators into commiting the “mortal sin” of borrowing from the state’s cash reserves to balance the state budget.

“This was predictable and preventable. Last summer, people knew that the farm economy was soft,” Corbett says. “…But instead of taking action last summer, they took a ‘wait and see’ attitude and all that did was delay the problem. There’s a cost to delay.”

Corbett says rather than make strategic cuts in the state budget last summer, the only option left for Reynolds and Republican lawmakers is to use the state’s cash reserves to cover the budget deficit.

“I mean this is a mortal sin in Republican circles to go down this road on fiscal irresponsibility and terrible budgeting practices,” Corbett says.

A Legislative Services Agency analysis indicated the state was 104 million dollars short when the budgeting year ended June 30th. Some taxes that were owed before June 30th are still trickling in, though. Reynolds has said she’ll wait until the end of September to see how big the final deficit number is. Corbett, a former speaker of the Iowa House, says the governor’s “unilateral decisions” mean Reynolds is “boxing out” input of the legislative branch.

“It seems to me that we have this culture of indecision developing in the governor’s office where they really don’t know what to do,” Corbett says.

Corbett says he’s concerned the hole in the state budget will get deeper as the Reynolds Administration negotiates with the three private companies that are now managing the state’s Medicaid program. The companies are seeking millions more from the state to pay for the care of the 165-thousand Iowans who are covered by Medicaid.

A spokesman for the Reynolds campaign issued a statement, saying the Iowa’s economy “is growing steadily,” but he did not directly address Corbett’s charges about the state budget.

“Our unemployment rate is at a 16 year low, High School graduation rate is best in the nation,” Phil Valenziano said. “…(Reynolds) will work every day with all Iowans to ensure that our state’s future is as bright as ever for our children and grandchildren.”