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Iowa Politics Roundup: 2009 in Review PDF Print E-mail
Commentary/Politics - Iowa Politics
Written by Lynn Campbell   
Wednesday, 30 December 2009 14:55


January 10: Matt Strawn becomes chair of the Republican Party of Iowa, defeating former State Representative Danny Carroll of Grinnell by a vote of 10-7 to replace Stewart Iverson. Strawn, the Iowa Barnstormers co-owner and former state director for John McCain, takes his dark-horse candidacy on the road in the months after the November election. Members of the Republican State Central Committee attributed Strawn's win to his ability to use fresh approaches to bring in new members and said his state listening tour helped him gain credibility in his quest for the position.

Iowa Politics Roundup: Legislative Session Should Be Short and Painful PDF Print E-mail
Commentary/Politics - Iowa Politics
Written by Lynn Campbell   
Friday, 18 December 2009 15:03

The 2010 legislative session will be dominated by budget cuts, government consolidation, and reorganization when state lawmakers return in January with what some say is a $1-billion shortfall and a midterm election just 10 months away.

Rather than a 100-day session, lawmakers will aim to have an 80-day session to do their part to cut spending. Shortening the session will save about $40,000 a day.

During a recent legislative forum, Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal (D-Council Bluffs) warned that it will be a painful session as lawmakers work to realign state government with revenues. House and Senate Democratic leaders have vowed not to increase taxes in 2010 but have repeated that everything is on the table for cuts.

Iowa Politics Roundup: Consolidation Takes Center Stage as Budget Solution PDF Print E-mail
Commentary/Politics - Iowa Politics
Written by Lynn Campbell   
Friday, 11 December 2009 16:58

Governor Chet Culver used a speech before the Iowa Taxpayers Association to unveil 90 cost-saving recommendations proposed by consultant Public Works of Philadelphia that he said have the potential to save $341 million in the first year, and nearly $1.7 billion in the next five years.

Many of the proposals call for consolidation. They include consolidating the state's 223 data centers, 23 e-mail systems, and $2 million in wireless-equipment contracts now purchased from seven vendors. They also call for consolidating mailrooms, Department of Natural Resources offices in Des Moines, and administrative functions at Department of Human Services institutions.

The report also calls for reducing the state's car fleet, consolidating property management, and selling surplus properties, including 5 to 10 percent of the 8,000 acres of state-owned prison farms that are no longer mission-critical.

And it calls for reducing human-resource staff in departments, using state master contracts for commonly purchased goods, negotiating Medicaid durable-medical-equipment prices, increasing efforts to collect debt, and making it easier to collect unpaid taxes.

Iowa Politics Roundup: Key Legislator Sees Consolidation as Key to Balancing Budget PDF Print E-mail
Commentary/Politics - Iowa Politics
Written by Lynn Campbell   
Friday, 04 December 2009 13:44

Iowa must look toward consolidating state agencies, school districts, and counties as a way to help balance the state budget, a key legislator said at a recent forum in Davenport.

"What we're going to have to do is consolidate," said Representative David Jacoby (D-Coralville), chair of the economic-development budget subcommittee. "We're going to look at consolidation, streamlining, and at the same time improving services."

Jacoby said legislators are working to consolidate the Department of Economic Development, Iowa Workforce Development, and the Department of Cultural Affairs. "It makes sense to me that we move these three agencies together under the same roof," he said. "It saves an administrative cost and it saves in rent that we're paying. That is a big leap I think we'll take at the state level."

Iowa Politics Roudup: Guantanamo-Detainee Plan Stirs Controversy PDF Print E-mail
Commentary/Politics - Iowa Politics
Written by Lynn Campbell   
Friday, 20 November 2009 16:35

The issue of housing accused terrorists in the Midwest was at the forefront this week as Thomson Correctional Center, in Illinois just over the Mississippi River from Iowa, is considered as a potential landing spot for Guantanamo Bay detainees after they leave Cuba.

Iowa Republicans spoke out against the possible transfer, while Democrats said they'd be open to the option.

Governor Chet Culver said that the transfer could create much-needed jobs.

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