January 12, 2010
Summary of the Iowa Condition of the State Address
By Stateline Staff
Iowa Gov. Chet Culver (D) called on lawmakers Jan. 12 to eliminate certain tax breaks and adopt his "government efficiency" proposals that he said could provide enough savings to allow the state to restore recent cuts in education and other key programs and invest in more "green-collar" jobs.
"These are common-sense ideas" he said during his Jan. 12 condition of the state speech to the Democratic-controlled Legislature. The ideas include offering early retirement or a four-day workweek to some state employees, reducing the size of the state vehicle fleet and eliminating duplicative information technology services — all of which could save the state nearly $1 billion over the next five years, he said. "It's time to rethink the way state government does business."
Culver asked the Legislature to act on recommendations made by a state panel earlier this month to eliminate certain tax credits, including the tax credit for movie and TV productions.
Culver, who intends to run for a second term this year, said he wanted to clear up confusion about the current budget situation." "Today, the budget is balanced. And it has been balanced every single day that I've had the privilege to be governor of this state."
He touted his $830 million public works project, known as I-JOBS, approved last year to help flood-ravaged communities rebuild after the disastrous summer of 2008 and to fix up the state's deteriorating roads and bridges. "We have now approved more than 1,400 projects and invested more than $530 million statewide," he said
A former teacher, Culver urged lawmakers to quickly pass legislation required to allow Iowa to compete for federal "Race to the Top" dollars, aimed at fueling school innovation and reforms. Iowa stands to receive up to $175 million.