Iowa Public Television

 

Governor Tom Vilsack

posted on May 17, 2005

Borg: SHARED POWER IN THE IOWA LEGISLATURE YIELDS GRIDLOCK. REPUBLICANS AND DEMOCRATS SEEK COMPROMISE WITHOUT CAPITULATION. PERSPECTIVE FROM GOVERNOR TOM VILSACK ON THIS EDITION OF "IOWA PRESS."

FUNDING FOR THIS PROGRAM WAS PROVIDED BY "FRIENDS," THE IOWA PUBLIC TELEVISION FOUNDATION; BY THE IOWA BANKERS ASSOCIATION... FOR PERSONAL, BUSINESS, AND COMMERCIAL NEEDS, IOWA BANKS HELP IOWANS REACH THEIR FINANCIAL GOALS; BY THE ASSOCIATED GENERAL CONTRACTORS OF IOWA, THE PUBLIC'S PARTNER IN BUILDING IOWA'S HIGHWAY, BRIDGE, AND MUNICIPAL UTILITY INFRASTRUCTURE; AND BY CAPITOL RESOURCES, INC., LOCATED IN BROOKLYN, IOWA; AND BY NICOLE SCHLINGER AND ERIC LANGE INDIVIDUALLY, FUND-RAISING AND COMMUNICATION SERVICES FOR MAJOR CAMPAIGNS SINCE 1996.

ON STATEWIDE IOWA PUBLIC TELEVISION, THIS IS THE FRIDAY, MAY 6 EDITION OF "IOWA PRESS." HERE IS DEAN BORG.

Borg: DURING THIS PAST WEEK, IOWA LEGISLATORS WERE WORKING WITHOUT PAY ALREADY PAST THE SESSION'S SCHEDULED ADJOURNMENT DATE. LIGHT AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL FLICKERED AT MIDWEEK WHEN SENATE LEADERS ANNOUNCED A DEAL ON THE STATE BUDGET FOR THE NEXT FISCAL YEAR, AND THAT SEEMED TO BE A MAJOR ACCOMPLISHMENT IN THE EVENLY SPLIT SENATE WHERE 25 REPUBLICANS AND 25 DEMOCRATS SHARE POWER. BUT ALMOST IMMEDIATELY LEADERS IN THE IOWA HOUSE, WHERE REPUBLICANS HOLD THE MAJORITY, SAID THE SENATE COMPROMISE WON'T PASS THERE. WHATEVER FINALLY DOES PASS THE LEGISLATURE MUST MEET, ALSO, GOVERNOR TOM VILSACK'S APPROVAL. AND TODAY WE'RE SEEKING HIS ASSESSMENTS. GOVERNOR VILSACK, WELCOME BACK TO "IOWA PRESS."

Vilsack: IT'S GREAT TO BE BACK, DEAN.

Borg: THANK YOU. ALSO WITH US HERE AT THE TABLE: "DES MOINES REGISTER" POLITICAL COLUMNIST DAVID YEPSEN AND VETERAN STATEHOUSE REPORTER MIKE GLOVER OF THE "ASSOCIATED PRESS."

Glover: GOVERNOR, JUST WHAT DEAN SAID, THERE APPEARS TO BE A BUDGET AGREEMENT IN THE SENATE. THE HOUSE SAYS IT WON'T APPROVE THAT. FIRST OF ALL, CAN YOU LIVE WITH THE BUDGET AGREEMENT IN THE SENATE AND WHAT DO YOU DO TO GET THE HOUSE TO ACCEPT IT?

Vilsack: I'LL TELL YOU, MIKE, I'M REALLY EXCITED ABOUT THE LAST COUPLE WEEKS OF THIS LEGISLATIVE SESSION. THIS COULD BE AN HISTORIC OPPORTUNITY FOR OUR STATE TO CONTINUE THE MOMENTUM. I'M CONVINCED THAT WE'RE GOING TO GET A DEAL BECAUSE WE HAVE A LOT OF SHARED PRIORITIES, WHETHER IT'S HOUSE REPUBLICANS OR DEMOCRATS OR SENATE REPUBLICANS OR DEMOCRATS, WE ALL SHARE THE NEED FOR INCREASED INVESTMENT IN EARLY CHILDHOOD AND WE UNDERSTAND THE IMPORTANCE OF A GREAT START FOR YOUNGSTERS. I THINK WE ALL WANT TO SEE TEACHING SALARIES BE MORE COMPETITIVE. I THINK MANY OF US ARE CONCERNED ABOUT EXPANDING ACCESS TO HEALTH CARE, AND THAT'S GOING TO BE TAKEN CARE OF THROUGH THE MEDICAID PROPOSAL. SO THERE ARE A LOT OF SHARED PRIORITIES HERE, JOB GROWTH FOR THE VALUES FUND. SO I THINK THE SHARED PRIORITIES WILL BE WHAT DRIVES, ULTIMATELY, AGREEMENT. RIGHT NOW THE HOUSE ITSELF IS DIVIDED. I THINK HOUSE DEMOCRATS ARE WILLING TO ACCEPT MOST OF THE COMPROMISE THAT THE SENATE HAS HAMMERED OUT. CERTAINLY WE CAN WORK WITH IT. SO WHEN YOU'VE GOT THE SENATE, HALF OF THE HOUSE, AND THE GOVERNOR BASICALLY ON THE SAME PAGE, IT'S PRETTY DIFFICULT TO RESIST THAT.

Glover: AND IS THAT WHAT WE'RE TALKING ABOUT, THAT IF AGREEMENT IS REACHED OVER THE MAJOR OVERARCHING ISSUES, THEN IT'S JUST KIND OF POLISHING THE DETAILS AND YOU CAN LIVE WITH WHAT'S BEEN INITIATED?

Vilsack: WE ARE EXCITED ABOUT THE OPPORTUNITIES THAT THE EARLY CHILDHOOD PROPOSALS PROVIDE, CLOSE TO $30 MILLION OF ADDITIONAL RESOURCES AND TAX CREDITS TO FAMILIES. WE LIKE THE IDEA THAT WE'RE GOING TO INCREASE TEACHER QUALITY COMMITMENT BY 50 PERCENT. THE COMMUNITY COLLEGES ARE LOOKING TO WHAT WAS PASSED LAST NIGHT IN THE SENATE AS THE MOST SIGNIFICANT THING THAT'S HAPPENED IN COMMUNITY COLLEGES IN FORTY YEARS. ADDITIONAL RESOURCES FOR THE REGENTS. CLEARLY WE'RE DOING A LOT IN HEALTH CARE WITH THE MEDICAID REFORM AND PARITY, REPAYING SOME OF THE SENIOR LIVING TRUST MONEY SO THAT WE CAN MAKE SURE THAT THAT'S A VIABLE OPPORTUNITY FOR SENIORS. A LOT OF GOOD WORK HAS BEEN DONE BY THIS LEGISLATURE, AND WE JUST NEED TO FINISH IT.

Yepsen: GOVERNOR, WHAT DO YOU SAY TO THE CRITICISM THAT YOU SPEND TOO MUCH, 6 PERCENT OR 7.5 PERCENT, DEPENDING ON HOW YOU CALCULATE IT? THAT'S EASILY MORE THAN THE RATE OF INFLATION. YOU'RE SPENDING MORE THAN YOU COLLECT IN TAX REVENUE, AND YOU'VE NOT REPAID TRUST FUNDS OR ALL THE CASH RESERVES AND YOU HAVE NO PLANS TO DO SO. HOW DO YOU RESPOND TO THAT?

Vilsack: WELL, LET ME DISAGREE WITH SOME OF THE PREMISE OF YOUR QUESTION, DAVID. FIRST OF ALL, I DON'T THINK WE'RE NECESSARILY SPENDING MORE THAN WE'RE TAKING IN. I THINK THE REVENUES AT THIS POINT ARE VERY STRONG AND ARE LIKELY TO BE STRONGER THAN THE REVENUE ESTIMATE OF 4.2 PERCENT, PROBABLY CLOSER TO 7 PERCENT AT THE AIRING OF THIS SHOW. SECONDLY, IF YOU TAKE A LOOK AT THE LAST SEVEN YEARS, THE SPENDING FOR STATE GOVERNMENT HAS BEEN, ON AVERAGE, ABOUT LESS THAN ONE PERCENT A YEAR, SUBSTANTIALLY LESS THAN THE RATE OF INFLATION. AND REALLY WHAT WE'RE TALKING ABOUT ARE MEETING THE NEEDS OF IOWANS. I THINK IOWANS WANT YOUNGSTERS TO HAVE A GREAT START. I THINK IOWANS WANT QUALITY TEACHERS IN THE CLASSROOM TEACHING THEIR CHILDREN. I THINK IOWANS ARE VERY CONCERNED ABOUT ENSURING HEALTH CARE FOR SENIORS IN VULNERABLE POPULATIONS, WHICH WE'LL BE ABLE TO DO WITH MEDICAID. AND WE'RE CLEARLY ALL FOCUSED ON JOB GROWTH AND DEVELOPMENT WITH THE VALUES FUND. SO THESE ARE ABOUT FUNDING IOWA'S PRIORITIES. AND I WILL SAY IN TERMS OF REPAYING THE FUNDS, THE RESERVE ACCOUNT WILL RECEIVE ADDITIONAL RESOURCES AND WE'LL HAVE A RESERVE ACCOUNT THAT'S HIGHER THAN MOST STATES. AND WE HAVE BEGUN THE PROCESS OF MAKING SURE THAT THE SENIOR LIVING TRUST IS REPAID. SO THOSE ARE VERY SIGNIFICANT STEPS.

Yepsen: ON THURSDAY OF LAST WEEK, THE BOARD OF REGENTS THREATENED TO RAISE TUITION EVEN IF THE SENATE'S VERSION OF THIS BUDGET IS APPROVED. DO YOU SUPPORT RAISING TUITIONS?

Vilsack: I'M NOT PARTICULARLY KEEN ON RAISING TUITIONS, PARTICULARLY IN THE MIDDLE OF THE YEAR. HAVING SAID THAT, WHAT I WANT TO DO IS WORK WITH THE REGENTS, IF THE SENATE-PASSED BUDGET BECOMES THE BUDGET FOR THE LEGISLATURE, TO SEE IF THERE ARE WAYS IN WHICH WE CAN PROVIDE ADDITIONAL ASSISTANCE. CLEARLY THE VALUES FUND IS AN OPPORTUNITY FOR US TO PROVIDE ADDITIONAL RESOURCES TO THE REGENTS. WE'RE ALSO OBVIOUSLY HELPING WITH CAPITAL CONSTRUCTION COSTS. CLEARLY THIS IS A STEP IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION. WE HAVE NOT PROVIDED ASSISTANCE FOR REGENTS IN THE LAST COUPLE OF YEARS AND, CLEARLY, THIS IS CERTAINLY IMPROVEMENT OVER WHAT HAPPENED IN THE LAST COUPLE OF YEARS.

Yepsen: WELL, GOVERNOR, WHAT'S WRONG WITH RAISING TUITIONS? IOWA'S TUITIONS AT OUR STATE UNIVERSITIES AT IOWA AND IOWA STATE ARE STILL BELOW THE AVERAGE FOR THEIR PEER INSTITUTIONS. THE PERCENTAGE OF PERSONAL INCOME IN IOWA THAT'S DEVOTED TO TUITIONS IN OUR STATE IS LOWER THAN IT IS FOR PEER INSTITUTIONS. WHY ISN'T A TUITION INCREASE OKAY?

Vilsack: I THINK IT'S THE TIMING OF THE TUITION INCREASE, DAVID. I'M NOT SUGGESTING THAT TUITION INCREASES, PER SE, ARE BAD. I'M SUGGESTING THAT PERHAPS IN THE MIDDLE OF THE YEAR IT MAY BE DIFFICULT FOR YOUNG PEOPLE TO MAKE ADJUSTMENTS IN THEIR STUDENT LOANS, IN THEIR WORK STUDY PROGRAMS, THAT TYPE OF THING. SO WE WANT TO WORK WITH THE REGENTS. WE UNDERSTAND -- LET ME SAY THIS, THE REGENTS ARE A VERY, VERY IMPORTANT COMPONENT TO THE ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITY THAT WE WANT TO CREATE IN THIS STATE. THAT'S WHY I'M EXCITED ABOUT THE OPPORTUNITIES -- WE'RE CREATING THE VALUES FUND. THAT'S WHY I'M EXCITED ABOUT THE BIOSCIENCE ALLIANCE. WE'RE GOING TO SEE, I THINK, SIGNIFICANT ADDITIONAL INVESTMENTS IN THE REGENTS UNIVERSITIES ABOVE AND BEYOND WHAT IS SPECIFICALLY SPECIFIED IN THE VALUES FUND. SO THERE IS GOING TO BE ADDITIONAL ASSISTANCE FOR THE REGENTS. I JUST WANT TO MAKE SURE THAT WHAT WE DO IS FAIR TO THE YOUNG PEOPLE WHO ARE ATTENDING THOSE UNIVERSITIES.

Glover: IN ONE PART OF THEIR BUDGET AGREEMENT, THE SENATE APPROVED A 36-CENT-PER-PACK INCREASE IN THE STATE'S CIGARETTE TAX, DEVOTING THAT MONEY TO REPLACING PROPERTY TAX DOLLARS. YOU HAD ASKED FOR AN 80-CENT-PER-PACK INCREASE. SOME HEALTH ADVOCATES HAD ADVOCATED A DOLLAR A PACK. CAN YOU LIVE WITH THAT COMPROMISE THEY STRUCK?

Vilsack: WELL, I THINK IT'S AN IMPORTANT STEP IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION IN TERMS OF HEALTH CARE. CLEARLY BY RAISING THE CIGARETTE TAX, WE'RE GOING TO SAVE LIVES. WE'RE GOING TO MAKE SURE THAT YOUNG PEOPLE DON'T SMOKE. SOME WHO SMOKE ARE GOING TO QUIT SMOKING. SO FROM THAT STANDPOINT, IT'S A GOOD PUBLIC HEALTH INITIATIVE. SECONDLY, I CERTAINLY SUPPORT THE STATE TAKING OVER A GREATER SHARE OF FUNDING FOR EDUCATION, WHICH IN TURN WILL RESULT IN PROPERTY TAX RELIEF. AND AS I SAID EARLIER, COMMUNITY COLLEGES ARE VIEWING THIS PARTICULAR BILL AS THE MOST SIGNIFICANT EFFORT TO SUPPORT COMMUNITY COLLEGES IN FORTY YEARS. THAT WOULD BE SINCE THE COMMUNITY COLLEGE PROCESS STARTED. SO THIS IS MAJOR LEGISLATION. IT IS HAMMERED OUT IN A BIPARTISAN WAY, AND I CERTAINLY HOPE THAT THE HOUSE WILL GIVE IT DUE CONSIDERATION.

Borg: I WANT TO GO BACK JUST QUICKLY THROUGH WHAT YOU SAID ON MAYBE OTHER OPTIONS FOR FUNDING REGENTS. I COVERED THE REGENTS MEETING THIS PAST WEEK, AND ONE OF THE MAJOR CONCERNS THERE ON THE BUDGET IS ALL THE DEFERRED MAINTENANCE, THE BUILDINGS THAT -- IS THAT ONE OPTION?

Vilsack: WELL, THE INFRASTRUCTURE BUDGET THAT THE SENATE PASSED INCREASES MONEY FOR MAJOR MAINTENANCE AND FOR ROUTINE MAINTENANCE. A PORTION OF THAT POTENTIALLY COULD GO TO THE REGENTS. THERE IS A VERY SIGNIFICANT COMMITMENT IN THE OUTYEARS, IN THE NEXT SEVERAL YEARS TO MAJOR MAINTENANCE AS A RESULT OF ADDITIONAL GAMING REVENUES COMING INTO THE STATE. THAT'S AN OPPORTUNITY. IN ADDITION, IF THE CIGARETTE TAX IS PASSED AND IS ALLOCATED, APPROPRIATED THE WAY THE SENATE HAS PLANNED IT, WHAT'S GOING TO HAPPEN IS THE COMMUNITY COLLEGES WILL RECEIVE LESS FROM THE VALUES FUND, WHICH IN TURN WILL CREATE MORE OPPORTUNITIES FOR US TO FINANCE THE BIOSCIENCE ALLIANCE, WHICH IS GOING TO CREATE MORE OPPORTUNITIES FOR INVESTMENTS IN THE REGENTS.

Borg: ON ANOTHER MONEY ISSUE, YOU SAID THAT YOU'LL SIGN THE PAY RAISE THAT WAS PASSED BY THE LEGISLATURE. HOW DO YOU RATIONALIZE THAT?

Vilsack: WELL, YOU KNOW, I'LL TELL YOU, DEAN, IT'S REALLY EASY, IT'S VERY EASY FOR PEOPLE TO KNOCK PUBLIC OFFICIALS AND PAY INCREASES. MIKE FITZGERALD -- I'M JUST GOING TO USE THE TREASURER, FOR EXAMPLE. THIS IS A MAN WHO IS ABSOLUTELY -- AS I CROSS THE COUNTRY AND TALK TO PEOPLE ABOUT TREASURERS, THERE IS NO QUESTION THAT MIKE FITZGERALD IS THE DEAN OF TREASURERS ACROSS THE COUNTRY. THIS IS A MAN WHO HAS SAVED THE STATE OF IOWA MILLIONS OF DOLLARS -- MILLIONS OF DOLLARS. THIS IS THE MAN WHO WAS THE ARCHITECT OF THE BONDING PROPOSAL FOR TOBACCO SECURITIZATION AND FOR THE VISION IOWA PROGRAM, AGAIN, SAVING MILLIONS OF DOLLARS, CREATING THOUSANDS OF JOBS, AND CREATING EXCITEMENT ABOUT THIS STATE. THIS IS A MAN WHO TAKES CARE OF OVER $5 BILLION ANNUALLY, PLUS THE INVESTMENTS OF THE STATE. HE'S PAID $85,000. IN THE PRIVATE SECTOR, HE WOULD PROBABLY BE PAID SEVEN FIGURES OR CERTAINLY HIGH SIX FIGURES. YOU KNOW, THIS IS A GUY WHO DESERVES TO BE PAID ADEQUATELY.

Borg: YOU SAY IT'S FAIRNESS.

Vilsack: I THINK IT'S A FAIRNESS ISSUE. AND AS FAR AS THE LEGISLATURE IS CONCERNED, YOU KNOW, IT'S TOUGH TO BE A LEGISLATOR. YOU'VE GOT TO CAMPAIGN, YOU'VE GOT TO RAISE MONEY, YOU'VE GOT TO PUT UP WITH A LOT OF CRITICISM AND CONCERN ABOUT THE STEPS AND DECISIONS THAT YOU MAKE. IT'S PARTICULARLY STRESSFUL DURING THIS PARTICULAR TIME. YOU'RE AWAY FROM YOUR FAMILY. IN MANY CASES YOU TAKE YOURSELF AWAY FROM BUSINESS. IF YOU HAPPEN TO BE A PROFESSIONAL, LIKE I WAS, TIME IS MONEY AND YOU ARE CERTAINLY NOT IN A POSITION TO EARN AS MUCH MONEY DURING THE FIRST FOUR MONTHS OF THE YEAR. IT IS FOR MANY A FINANCIAL SACRIFICE.

Yepsen: GOVERNOR -- EXCUSE ME, MIKE. I WANT TO GO BACK TO MIKE'S QUESTION ON THE CIGARETTE TAX. THE CRITICS OF THAT ARE SAYING IT'S A SHELL GAME, THAT YOU RAISE THE CIGARETTE TAX, USE SOME OF THAT MONEY TO LOWER PROPERTY TAXES, BUT THEN PART OF THE DEAL IS YOU ALLOW COMMUNITY COLLEGES TO RAISE THEIR PROPERTY TAXES. HOW DO YOU RESPOND TO THE CRITICISM THAT THIS IS A SHELL GAME?

Vilsack: WELL, IT'S NOT A SHELL GAME AT ALL, DAVID. FIRST OF ALL, IT'S UP FRONT. PEOPLE KNOW EXACTLY WHAT THE BILL PROVIDES. THERE WILL ABSOLUTELY BE PROPERTY TAX RELIEF. IF EVERY COMMUNITY COLLEGES OPTS FOR THE LEVY, THERE STILL WILL BE A DECREASE IN PROPERTY TAXES, NUMBER ONE. NUMBER TWO, IT IS A LOCAL DECISION. PEOPLE CAN MAKE THAT DECISION LOCALLY. LOCALLY ELECTED TRUSTEES ARE INVOLVED IN MAKING THAT DECISION, SO IT IS DRIVEN BY PEOPLE'S UNDERSTANDING AND NEED FOR A STRONG COMMUNITY COLLEGE SYSTEM. AND FINALLY, IF YOU TAKE A LOOK AT THE GENESIS OF THE COMMUNITY COLLEGE SYSTEM AND HOW WE INITIALLY FUNDED IT, IT WAS A THREE-PART PARTNERSHIP: TUITION, STATE, AND LOCAL COMMITMENT. CERTAINLY THE STUDENTS OF COMMUNITY COLLEGES HAVE UPHELD THEIR END OF THE DEAL, THE HIGHEST TUITIONS IN THE COUNTRY. THE STATE IS PROVIDING ADDITIONAL RESOURCES. IT IS THE LOCAL CONTRIBUTION THAT HAS SUFFERED IN THE RECENT PAST. IF WE WANT OUR COMMUNITY COLLEGES TO CONTINUE TO PROVIDE EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITY, LIFE-LONG LEARNING OPPORTUNITY FOR JUST NOT STUDENTS BUT ADULT LEARNERS AS WELL, WE'RE GOING TO HAVE TO FUND THAT SYSTEM. WE HAVE ONE OF THE BEST SYSTEMS IN COUNTRY. WE NEED TO MAINTAIN IT.

Glover: GOVERNOR, WE'RE TALKING WITH THIS BUDGET DEAL AS IF IT'S DONE, AS IF IT'S APPROVED. IN FACT, THE BUDGET DEAL THAT'S BEEN APPROVED IN THE SENATE AND IS MOVING OVER TO THE HOUSE THE HOUSE MEMBERS SAY SIMPLY WON'T PASS, THERE WON'T BE A CIGARETTE TAX INCREASE, ALL OF THESE SPENDING INCREASES WON'T HAPPEN. HOW DO YOU RESOLVE THAT DISPUTE IN THE COMING WEEK?

Vilsack: YOU KNOW, I DON'T THINK IT'S UP TO ME TO RESOLVE IT, MIKE. I THINK IT'S UP TO THE FOLKS WHO ARE INTERESTED IN MAKING SURE THAT THE CHILDREN IN THIS STATE HAVE A GREAT START, TO ENCOURAGE HOUSE REPUBLICANS TO GET BEHIND THIS BUDGET. I THINK IT'S UP TO THOSE WHO ARE CONCERNED ABOUT THE QUALITY OF EDUCATION AND UNDERSTAND THAT BY BEING COMPETITIVE WITH TEACHING SALARIES, WE CAN MAINTAIN QUALITY IN THE CLASSROOM, TO ADVOCATE FOR THIS BUDGET. I THINK IT'S UP TO THE COMMUNITY COLLEGE COMMUNITY, THE TRUSTEES, THE BUSINESSES THAT BENEFIT FROM COMMUNITY COLLEGES, THE STUDENTS WHO GO TO COMMUNITY COLLEGES WHO ARE CONCERNED ABOUT TUITION INCREASES TO GO AND LOBBY FOR THIS BUDGET. I THINK IT'S UP TO THE FOLKS WHO BELIEVE THAT RAISING THE CIGARETTE TAX WILL SAVE LIVES TO MORE AGGRESSIVELY LOBBY FOR THIS BUDGET. I THINK IT'S UP TO THOSE FOLKS WHO ARE INTERESTED IN JOB GROWTH AND CREATING NEW BETTER OPPORTUNITIES FOR IOWANS TO SUPPORT THE VALUES FUND PORTION OF THIS BUDGET. I THINK IT'S UP TO THE PEOPLE OF IOWA. THIS BUDGET REFLECTS THEIR PRIORITIES. THIS IS NOT ABOUT PARTISAN POLITICS. IT'S NOT ABOUT A SQUABBLE BETWEEN CHAMBERS. IT'S ABOUT ADEQUATELY FUNDING THE PRIORITIES OF IOWA.

Yepsen: WELL, TO PUT A FINER POINT ON MIKE'S QUESTION, YOU'VE GOT THE BULLY PULPIT, WHICH IS WHAT YOU'RE DOING HERE BY LOBBYING FOR YOUR PROGRAM. MY QUESTION IS WILL YOU BRING THE LEGISLATURE BACK INTO A SPECIAL SESSION IF YOU DON'T GET WHAT YOU WANT OUT OF THE IOWA HOUSE.

Vilsack: YOU KNOW, I'M NOT GOING TO USE THIS AS AN OPPORTUNITY TO RAISE THE THREAT LEVEL. WE JUST DON'T NEED TO DO THAT. WE NEED TO WORK WITH FOLKS, AND WE NEED TO POINT OUT TO PEOPLE THAT WHAT THIS BUDGET REFLECTS IS THE PRIORITIES OF IOWANS. LOOK, WE HAVE A GREAT OPPORTUNITY TO SEND A STRONG MESSAGE NATIONALLY ABOUT THE STATE SUPPORTING EDUCATION. THAT'S HOW WE SELL THIS STATE. EVERY CHILD IS GOING TO GET A GREAT START IN IOWA. WE'RE GOING TO HAVE TO TAKE A VERY SIGNIFICANT STEP TOWARDS THAT GOAL. WE WANT TO BE MORE COMPETITIVE IN TEACHING SALARIES. THIS ISN'T A REPUBLICAN OR DEMOCRATIC ISSUE. WE ALL SHARE THAT CONCERN ABOUT TEACHING SALARIES. THIS WILL HELP US INCREASE TEACHING SALARIES. EVERYONE SUPPORTS THE COMMUNITY COLLEGE SYSTEM. AND WE ALL UNDERSTAND AND APPRECIATE THE NECESSITY OF EXPANDING ACCESS TO HEALTH CARE FOR VULNERABLE IOWANS. I'M REAL EXCITED ABOUT THE PARITY BILL. THE THING THAT THIS LEGISLATURE HAS ALREADY DONE, THE MEDICAID REFORM, WHICH I HOPE WILL PASS EARLY NEXT WEEK, ALL OF THAT IS SUGGESTING THAT WE'RE -- THAT WITH BIPARTISANSHIP WE CAN MOVE THIS STATE FORWARD. WE HAVE TERRIFIC MOMENTUM. WE'VE GOT THOUSANDS MORE JOBS THAN WE DID A YEAR AGO. WE HAVE HIGHER INCOMES THAN ALL BUT ONE STATE IN THE COUNTRY. WE'RE SEEING HIGHER TEST SCORES. WE'RE SEEING EXPANDED ACCESS TO HEALTH CARE. WE WANT TO CONTINUE THAT MOMENTUM.

Yepsen: I WANT TO SWITCH GEARS. THE DEATH PENALTY. DEMOCRATS IN THE IOWA SENATE HAVE DECLINED TO ALLOW THE DEATH PENALTY TO BE DEBATED. WHY IS YOUR PARTY AFRAID OF A DEATH PENALTY DEBATE?

Vilsack: FIRST OF ALL, LET ME SAY THAT THE SEX OFFENDER PROPOSAL THAT PASSED THE SENATE PROVIDES FOR A DEATH SENTENCE FOR SECOND OFFENSES. YOU GO IN PRISON AND YOU DO NOT COME OUT ALIVE. IT WILL BE THE TOUGHEST LAW IN THE COUNTRY, A COMPANION TO THE TOUGHEST METHAMPHETAMINE LAW THAT WAS PASSED EARLIER IN THE SESSION: TOUGHER SENTENCES, LONGER SENTENCES, LIFETIME MONITORING, FORCED OR COMPELLED TREATMENT OR YOU DON'T GET CREDIT FOR GOOD TIME. ALL OF IT GOOD POLICY AND THE RIGHT POLICY. I DON'T KNOW THAT YOU CAN NECESSARILY SUGGEST OR INDICATE THAT OUR PARTY HAS A POSITION ONE WAY OR THE OTHER --

Yepsen: WELL, IT'S IN YOUR PLATFORM.

Vilsack: WELL, THERE ARE DIFFERENT PEOPLE IN OUR PARTY WHO HAVE DIFFERENT VIEWS ABOUT THE DEATH PENALTY. I CAN ONLY SPEAK FOR MYSELF. IT IS NOT A DETERRENT. IT IS MORE EXPENSIVE. AND WE HAVE LIFE IN PRISON WITHOUT PAROLE. IT IS A DEATH SENTENCE. IT IS EFFECTIVE. IF YOU LOOK AT VIOLENT CRIME RATES IN THIS STATE, THEY ARE SUBSTANTIALLY LOWER THAN THE CRIME RATES -- OF VIOLENT CRIME RATES IN STATES THAT AGGRESSIVELY USE THE DEATH PENALTY, NOT TO MENTION THE FACT THAT NOW WITH DNA WE SEE THAT MISTAKES HAVE BEEN MADE AND CONTINUE TO BE MADE IN TERMS OF WHO IS ON DEATH ROW. SO TAKING ALL OF THAT INTO CONSIDERATION, THAT'S WHY I OPPOSE THE DEATH PENALTY. NOW, LET'S BE HONEST ABOUT THIS. THIS WAS ALL ABOUT POLITICS. THIS WAS ALL ABOUT MAKING SURE THAT PEOPLE WERE PUT IN A POSITION TO TAKE "A TOUGH VOTE."

Yepsen: EXCUSE ME. IT'S NOT A CRIME AT THE IOWA STATEHOUSE TO HAVE POLITICS. YOU'VE TAKEN TOUGH VOTES. YOU'VE OPPOSED THE DEATH PENALTY. IT DIDN'T HURT YOU POLITICALLY. SO THE QUESTION IS WHY DO SENATE DEMOCRATS SEEM AFRAID OF THIS.

Vilsack: I DON'T THINK THAT THEY'RE AFRAID OF IT. I DON'T THINK THAT THEY THINK IT'S NECESSARY. I MEAN, WHY AREN'T WE HAVING A DISCUSSION ABOUT MINIMUM WAGE IN SOME OF THE TOUGH VOTES FOR REPUBLICANS? THE WHOLE PURPOSE OF THE 2005 GENERAL ASSEMBLY WAS TO FOCUS ON BIPARTISAN AGREEMENT, WAS TO TAKE THIS YEAR -- THIS UNIQUE YEAR AND MOVE THIS STATE FORWARD. AND I WILL TELL YOU THIS IS AN HISTORIC LEGISLATURE: MEDICAID REFORM EXPANDING ACCESS TO HEALTH CARE, MENTAL HEALTH PARITY, EARLY CHILDHOOD INITIATIVES, TEACHER QUALITY INCREASED COMPENSATION, PERHAPS THE MOST SIGNIFICANT COMMITMENT TO COMMUNITY COLLEGES IN FORTY YEARS, THE VALUES FUND, FIXING THE VENTURE CAPITAL PROGRAM. ALL OF THIS AND MUCH, MUCH MORE IS BEING DONE BY THIS LEGISLATURE BECAUSE THEY FOCUSED ON WHERE THEY AGREED. AND I THINK THAT'S GOOD FOR IOWANS.

Glover: GOVERNOR, LET'S GO BACK TO THAT SEX ABUSE BILL. IT HAS LONGER SENTENCES. IT HAS TIGHTER SUPERVISION. IS THERE ANYTHING ELSE THAT NEEDS TO BE DONE ON SEX ABUSE THAT YOU'D LIKE THIS LEGISLATURE TO ACCOMPLISH?

Vilsack: WELL, I THINK THAT THIS IS A SIGNIFICANT STEP TO SEND THE MESSAGE TO IOWANS THAT WE ARE GOING TO PROTECT OUR CHILDREN. IT IS A TOUGH LAW. IT IS THE TOUGHEST LAW IN THE COUNTRY. WHEN YOU ADD THAT TO THE CUSO, THE SEX OFFENDER TREATMENT UNIT THAT'S ASSOCIATED WITH OUR MENTAL HEALTH INSTITUTES, WHAT YOU HAVE IS BASICALLY A PROTECTION TO ENSURE PEOPLE ARE NOT GOING TO BE OUT THAT POSE A THREAT TO OUR CHILDREN. IF THEY ARE, THEY'RE GOING TO BE MONITORED. WE'RE GOING TO KNOW WHERE THEY ARE AND WHAT THEY'RE DOING.

Glover: AND IT'S AN EXPENSIVE PROPOSAL --

Vilsack: AND WE'RE FUNDING IT.

Glover: -- SOMEWHERE BETWEEN $4- AND $8 MILLION. AND ARE YOU GOING TO PAY FOR IT?

Vilsack: AND WE'RE FUNDING IT. AND THAT'S THE MOST IMPORTANT THING. YOU KNOW, IT'S EASY FOR PEOPLE LIKE ME TO COME ON SHOWS LIKE THIS AND, YOU KNOW, RANT AND RAVE ABOUT BEING TOUGH ON CRIME. REALLY THE KEY HERE IS ARE YOU GOING TO PUT THE MONEY BEHIND THE EFFORT. AND IT'S MY UNDERSTANDING THAT THERE ARE MILLIONS OF DOLLARS APPROPRIATED FOR THIS SPECIFIC PURPOSE. AND SO WITH THE MONEY BEHIND THE EFFORT, THEN I THINK IT'S A TRUE AND MEANINGFUL EFFORT.

Yepsen: ANOTHER THING THAT THIS LEGISLATURE APPEARS LIKELY TO DO IS TO REFORM THE STATE'S MEDICAID PROGRAM. THAT'S THE PROGRAM THAT PAYS FOR HEALTH CARE FOR POOR PEOPLE. IT'S VERY ARCANE. WHAT, GOVERNOR, IS THIS CHANGE GOING TO MEAN TO THE AVERAGE IOWAN? HOW WILL PEOPLE SEE ANY DIFFERENCE AS A RESULT OF THIS REFORM?

Vilsack: FOR PEOPLE UNDER 200 PERCENT OF POVERTY, ROUGHLY $40-, $45,000 A YEAR, YOU'RE GOING TO HAVE AN OPPORTUNITY TO ACCESS HEALTH CARE COVERAGE THAT IS STABLE AND AFFORDABLE. WHAT THAT MEANS FOR ORDINARY FOLKS IS THE PEACE OF MIND OF BEING ABLE TO INSURE YOUR CHILDREN AND YOUR FAMILY IF YOU HAVE A MAJOR HEALTH PROBLEM. IT ALSO GIVES THE STATE THE OPPORTUNITY TO TRY OUT A NUMBER OF INNOVATIVE WAYS OF PROVIDING GREATER EFFICIENCY AND EFFECTIVENESS IN HEALTH CARE AND INSTITUTING MORE PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY IN HEALTH CHOICES. WE'RE GOING TO SET UP A DEDUCTIBLE SYSTEM OR A PAYMENT SYSTEM THAT REWARDS PEOPLE FOR PROPER HEALTH CHOICES, FOR GOOD HEALTH CHOICES, NONSMOKING, OBESITY PROGRAMS, ET CETERA. WE'RE ALSO GOING TO TRY TO PROMOTE ELECTRONIC RECORDKEEPING AS A WAY OF REDUCING MEDICAL ERRORS AND PROVIDING GREATER EFFICIENCY. ALL OF THIS ALLOWS US TO BE THE EXPERIMENTAL LABORATORY, NOT JUST FOR IOWA BUT FOR THE ENTIRE NATION. SO TO THE ORDINARY FOLKS, IT'S GOING TO PROVIDE ADDITIONAL COVERAGE. NOW, HERE'S THE OTHER THING IT'S GOING TO DO. IT'S GOING TO TAKE SOME OF THE PRESSURE FOR CHARITY CARE OFF OF OUR CURRENT HOSPITAL SYSTEMS AND CLINIC SYSTEMS. RIGHT NOW IF YOU DON'T HAVE INSURANCE COVERAGE, YOU GET SICK, REAL SICK, YOU GO TO A HOSPITAL, YOU GET TREATMENT. SOMEONE PAYS FOR THAT TREATMENT. WELL, WHO PAYS FOR IT? THE FOLKS WHO HAVE PRIVATE INSURANCE. THOSE ARE THE FOLKS WHO PAY FOR IT. THAT INCREASES THE PRIVATE INSURANCE RATES, MAKES OUR COMPANIES LESS COMPETITIVE OR PUTS THEM IN THE UNENVIABLE CHOICE OF HAVING TO REDUCE OR ELIMINATE COVERAGES FOR THEIR EMPLOYEES. THIS IS GOING TO POTENTIALLY TAKE SOME OF THE PRESSURE OFF OF THAT. I'M EXCITED ABOUT THIS. I'M EXCITED ABOUT PARITY. I'M EXCITED ABOUT WHAT WE'RE DOING IN REPAYING THE SENIOR LIVING TRUST. IT SENDS A VERY STRONG MESSAGE ABOUT HEALTH CARE SECURITY IN IOWA.

Glover: LAST WEEK IN THE DEAD OF THE NIGHT, THE LEGISLATURE PASSED A VERSION OF YOUR RURAL IOWA VALUES FUND. IT'S A MIXTURE OF A VALUES FUND TO LURE NEW BUSINESSES TO THE STATE. THERE ARE SOME TAX CREDITS FOR BUSINESSES THAT CREATE NEW JOBS IN THE STATE. (A) CAN YOU LIVE WITH IT; AND (B) CAN THEY DO BETTER?

Vilsack: WELL, LET'S JUST BRIEFLY LOOK AT WHAT THE VALUES FUND HAS ALREADY DONE: 662 BUSINESSES HELPED, 17,000 JOBS CREATED AND RETAINED, JOBS PAYING THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS MORE THAN THE AVERAGE WAGE. CLEARLY WE NEEDED A CONTINUATION OF THE VALUES FUND. TWO THINGS ABOUT THIS. FIRST OF ALL, IT'S SIGNIFICANT IN TERMS OF THE AMOUNT OF MONEY, BOTH IN TERMS OF THE AMOUNT OF MONEY FOR BUSINESS ASSISTANCE, AS WELL AS THE TAX CREDIT PORTION OF IT. IT'S $70 MILLION A YEAR. IT IS ALSO GUARANTEED FOR THE NEXT TEN YEARS. SO IT ENABLES THE DEPARTMENT OF ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT TO MAKE MULTIYEAR DEALS TO LEVERAGE THOSE RESOURCES EFFECTIVELY. WE'RE GOING TO SEEK HUNDREDS AND HUNDREDS OF NEW BUSINESSES HELPED. WE'RE GOING TO SEE TENS OF THOUSANDS OF JOBS CREATED. IT'S GOING TO CONTINUE TO KEEP THE MOMENTUM GOING IN THIS STATE. WE ARE HEADED IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION. WE WANT TO ACCELERATE OUR PROGRESS. WE'RE SEEING MORE COLLEGE EXPERIENCED WORKERS IN OUR WORK FORCE. WE'RE BEGINNING TO REVERSE THE BRAIN DRAIN WITH MORE JOBS, BETTER PAYING JOBS, HIGHER WAGE INCOME LEVELS FOR IOWANS, BETTER TEST SCORES, EXPANDED ACCESS TO HEALTH CARE. WE'RE HEADED IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION IN THIS STATE. THIS WILL ALLOW US TO CONTINUE.

Glover: SO YOU CAN LIVE WITH THE VERSION THEY'RE PASSING UPSTAIRS.

Vilsack: YES.

Yepsen: GOVERNOR --

Vilsack: EXCUSE ME, DAVID. ONE OTHER THING. I THINK WHAT'S ALSO IMPORTANT THAT THIS LEGISLATURE DID IS THAT THEY CORRECTED THE MISTAKES THAT WERE MADE WHEN THEY SET UP THE FUND OF FUNDS VENTURE CAPITAL PROGRAM. ONE OF THE GLARING WEAKNESSES OF THIS STATE HAS BEEN OUR INABILITY TO SECURE VENTURE CAPITAL. MY HOPE IS THAT WITH THESE CHANGES, BANKS, FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS, INSURANCE COMPANIES WILL STEP UP, INVEST IN VENTURE CAPITAL IN THE STATE AND, COMBINED WITH WHAT WE ALREADY HAVE IN PLACE WITH THE PAPPAJOHN ENTREPRENEURIAL CENTERS, THE INSURANCE COMPANY INDUSTRIES COMMITMENT TO VENTURE CAPITAL, AND SOME OF THE LOCAL VENTURE CAPITAL PROGRAMS THAT HAVE BEEN STARTED WITH ANGEL INVESTORS AND SO FORTH AND THE TAX CREDITS THAT WE'VE PROVIDED, TO PROVIDE MORE ASSISTANCE FOR ENTREPRENEURIAL OPPORTUNITIES IN IOWA.

Yepsen: GOVERNOR, I WANT TO ASK YOU ABOUT TWO THINGS GOING ON IN NEWTON. ONE IS THIS TRACK. YOU SIGNED INTO LAW LAST WEEK A BILL THAT IS GOING TO ALLOW THEM TO KEEP THE FIRST $12 MILLION OF ANY SALES TAX THAT THEY COLLECT AT THAT TRACK. WHAT'S TO PREVENT THIS FROM BECOMING A PRECEDENT, THAT EVERY NEW BUSINESS THAT COMES TO THIS STATE IS GOING TO PUT A GUN TO THE HEAD OF A GOVERNOR AND THE LEGISLATURE TO SAY WE WON'T COME UNLESS YOU GIVE US "X" MILLION DOLLARS OF THE SALES TAX THAT WE COLLECT?

Vilsack: WELL, FIRST OF ALL, THIS PARTICULAR BUSINESS IS A BUSINESS THAT WILL GENERATE SALES TAX ACTIVITY. MOST OF THE BUSINESSES THAT WE'RE TALKING ABOUT WITH THE VALUES FUND, FOR EXAMPLE, ARE NOT ONES THAT WILL GENERATE SALES TAX REVENUE. THEY'RE MORE LIKELY TO GENERATE INCOME. WE CLEARLY PROVIDE ABATEMENTS AND TAX CREDITS TO OFFSET INCOME THAT IS GENERATED. SO THE PRECEDENT IN THAT RESPECT IS GOING TO BE THERE. THIS BILL WAS VERY TIGHTLY DRAFTED AT MY REQUEST AND REALLY IS A UNIQUE CIRCUMSTANCE AND SITUATION. AND I'M NOT SURE THAT IT WOULD NECESSARILY FIT IN OTHER SITUATIONS AS YOU'VE OUTLINED. SECONDLY, THIS IS A COMMUNITY THAT NEEDS HELP. THIS IS A COMMUNITY THAT NEEDS A SHOT IN THE ARM. THIS IS A COMMUNITY THAT WANTS TO BE HOPEFUL AND OPTIMISTIC. THIS PARTICULAR FACILITY, WHEN IT GETS CONSTRUCTED, WHEN IT GETS OPERATIONAL, IS GOING TO BRING THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE INTO THE CENTRAL IOWA AREA, INTO THE NEWTON AREA. AND I THINK IT'S GOING TO BENEFIT THE OVERALL ECONOMY.

Yepsen: AND THAT'S MY SECOND QUESTION IS ABOUT MAYTAG. THAT COMPANY IS HURTING AND YET FEW COMPANIES ARE AS SYMBOLIC AND AS WELL KNOWN IN IOWA AS MAYTAG. ARE YOU DOING ALL YOU CAN TO KEEP MAYTAG IN IOWA AND KEEP IT PROFITABLE? IS THERE SOMETHING MORE THAT YOU OR THE STATE CAN OR SHOULD BE DOING TO HELP THAT COMPANY?

Vilsack: WELL, AS WE SPEAK, THERE'S A MEETING TODAY WITH CONGRESSMAN BOSWELL AND MIKE BLOUIN OF THE DEPARTMENT OF ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT. THEY'RE GOING TO BE TALKING TO MAYTAG OFFICIALS. I ALSO HAVE AN OPPORTUNITY TO VISIT WITH MAYTAG OFFICIALS, AS WELL AS UNION OFFICIALS, ABOUT WHAT NEEDS TO BE DONE. WE HAVE TO KNOW FROM THE COMPANY WHAT THEY NEED, AND THAT HAS NOT YET BEEN CONVEYED TO US, NUMBER ONE. NUMBER TWO, THIS IS A VERY DIFFICULT CIRCUMSTANCE AND SITUATION BECAUSE WHAT WE'RE DEALING WITH IS THE EFFECT OF GLOBAL ECONOMY. AND THE MESSAGE HERE, NOT JUST FOR MAYTAG, NOT JUST FOR NEWTON, FOR ALL OF IOWA AND FOR ALL OF AMERICA IS THIS: WE ARE NOW ENGAGED IN A FIERCE GLOBAL COMPETITION. THE ONLY WAY WE'RE GOING TO WIN THAT COMPETITION -- THE ONLY WAY WE'RE GOING TO WIN IT IS BY BEING MORE INNOVATIVE AND MORE CREATIVE, WHICH IS WHY YOU'VE GOT TO INVEST IN EDUCATION, WHICH IS WHY YOU HAVE TO HAVE A VALUES FUND THAT'S FOCUSED ON LIFE SCIENCES, THE BIOALLIANCE, ADVANCED MANUFACTURING, INFORMATION SOLUTIONS, PLACES WHERE WE CAN INVEST IN INNOVATION. VERY, VERY IMPORTANT.

Glover: GOVERNOR, WE ONLY HAVE A COUPLE MINUTES LEFT, AND IT WOULDN'T BE AN OFFICIAL IOWA PRESS SHOW IF WE DIDN'T TALK A LITTLE BIT ABOUT POLITICS. SO LET'S GO OVER TO THE POLITICAL BLOCK, IF WE COULD. YOU'VE CHANGED YOUR SCHEDULE JUST A BIT. YOU'VE HIRED SOME STAFFERS THAT ARE WORKING ON POLITICAL ISSUES. YOU'VE EXPANDED YOUR TRAVEL. YOU'RE GOING TO SOME DIFFERENT PLACES THAT OTHER GOVERNORS AREN'T GOING TO. WHAT'S GOING ON HERE?

Vilsack: 2006 IS THE SUPER BOWL OF GOVERNORS' RACES: 34 GOVERNORS' RACES NEXT YEAR; 2 VERY IMPORTANT GOVERNORS' RACES THIS YEAR. I THINK I OWE IT TO MY COLLEAGUES IN THE DEMOCRATIC GOVERNORS' ASSOCIATION TO DO WHAT I CAN TO MAKE SURE THAT DEMOCRATS ARE SUCCESSFUL. I THINK I OWE IT TO MY PARTY TO POINT OUT SOME OF THE POLICIES AND PROGRAMS THAT HAVE WORKED IN IOWA AND SOME OF THE MESSAGES THAT HAVE WORKED HERE AND ENCOURAGE DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATES FOR GOVERNOR TO BASICALLY TAKE A LOOK AT THOSE PROGRAMS, TAKE A LOOK AT THOSE IDEAS, TAKE A LOOK AT THOSE MESSAGES AND THE VALUES THAT WE'VE TALKED ABOUT, RESPONSIBILITY, OPPORTUNITY, AND SECURITY, AND INTEGRATE THAT INTO A CAMPAIGN. AND THAT'S MY PURPOSE. I'M VERY INTERESTED AND FOCUSED ON TRYING TO ELECT DEMOCRATIC GOVERNORS.

Glover: THERE ARE THOSE CYNICS AMONG US WHO SAY THAT WHAT YOU'RE DOING IS LAYING THE GROUNDWORK FOR 2008. HOW DO YOU RESPOND TO THOSE?

Vilsack: YOU KNOW, I DON'T KNOW WHAT I'M GOING TO BE DOING IN 2007 OR 2008. I DO KNOW WHAT I'M DOING IN 2005. I'M TRYING TO GET THIS LEGISLATIVE SESSION CONCLUDED BECAUSE I THINK IT'S HISTORIC. I'M ALSO FOCUSED ON MAKING SURE THAT I DO MY PART AS A DEMOCRAT IN 2006 TO ELECT DEMOCRATS TO GOVERNORSHIPS. THAT'S WHAT I KNOW AND THAT'S WHAT I'M GOING TO FOCUS ON.

Glover: IS THE ACCOMPLISHMENT OF THIS GENERAL ASSEMBLY GOING TO BE THIS YEAR IN THIS LEGISLATIVE SESSION BECAUSE NEXT YEAR IS AN ELECTION YEAR?

Vilsack: I THINK IT MIGHT BE A LITTLE MORE DIFFICULT. WE TALKED EARLIER ABOUT POLITICS ENTERING INTO A LEGISLATIVE SESSION. I THINK IT'S PROBABLY LIKELY THAT WITH PEOPLE RUNNING FOR VARIOUS OFFICES THAT WE'RE GOING TO SEE POSITIONING, JOCKEYING, AND TRYING TO PUT PEOPLE IN TOUGH POSITIONS, WHICH MAKES IT A LITTLE BIT MORE DIFFICULT. BUT THERE'S STILL MEANINGFUL WORK THAT HAS TO BE DONE. ONE OF THE THINGS WE HAVEN'T TALKED ABOUT TODAY IS THE WHOLE ISSUE OF GOVERNANCE AND WHETHER WE CAN MODERNIZE THE STRUCTURES OF GOVERNMENT IN THIS STATE. THIS IS SOMETHING THAT THIS LEGISLATURE IS TAKING A STEP ON IN TERMS OF EDUCATION BUT HAS NOT DONE IN TERMS OF CITIES AND COUNTIES. I THINK WE NEED TO RETURN TO THAT TOPIC NEXT YEAR IN A VERY MEANINGFUL WAY.

Yepsen: SO IN TEN SECONDS, IT IS FAIR TO SAY THAT YOU ARE KEEPING OPEN THE POSSIBILITY OF RUNNING FOR PRESIDENT.

Vilsack: YOU KNOW, DAVID, IT IS FAIR TO SAY THAT I'M KEEPING OPEN THE POSSIBILITY OF BEING BASEBALL COMMISSIONER OR GOING BACK TO PRACTICING LAW IN MT. PLEASANT OR TEACHING IN A UNIVERSITY OR HELPING TO RUN A COMPANY. IT'S FAIR TO SAY ALL OF THOSE OPTIONS ARE ON THE TABLE BECAUSE I HONESTLY DO NOT HAVE ANY IDEA WHAT I'M GOING TO DO. I DO KNOW WHAT I'M DOING IN 2005. AND I KNOW WHAT I WANT TO DO IN 2006, AND THAT'S WHAT'S IMPORTANT.

Borg: WE SAVE THOSE TOUGH QUESTIONS TILL LAST. THANK YOU, GOVERNOR, FOR BEING WITH US.

Vilsack: THANK YOU.

Borg: ON OUR NEXT EDITION OF "IOWA PRESS," WE'LL GET AN UPDATE ON THE BUSINESS OF THE 109TH CONGRESS. DEMOCRATIC SENATOR TOM HARKIN WILL BE HERE OFFERING PERSPECTIVE ON THE ISSUE FACING THE SENATE, INCLUDING THE PROCEDURAL STRUGGLE OVER BRINGING JUDICIAL NOMINATIONS TO THE SENATE VOTE. YOU'LL HEAR SENATOR HARKIN. REGULAR "IOWA PRESS" AIRTIMES: 7:30 FRIDAY; SUNDAY AT NOON. I HOPE YOU'LL WATCH. I'M DEAN BORG. THANKS FOR JOINING US TODAY.

FUNDING FOR THIS PROGRAM WAS PROVIDED BY "FRIENDS," THE IOWA PUBLIC TELEVISION FOUNDATION; BY THE IOWA BANKERS ASSOCIATION... FOR PERSONAL, BUSINESS, AND COMMERCIAL NEEDS, IOWA BANKS HELP IOWANS REACH THEIR FINANCIAL GOALS; BY THE ASSOCIATED GENERAL CONTRACTORS OF IOWA, THE PUBLIC'S PARTNER IN BUILDING IOWA'S HIGHWAY, BRIDGE, AND MUNICIPAL UTILITY INFRASTRUCTURE; AND BY CAPITOL RESOURCES, INC., LOCATED IN BROOKLYN, IOWA; AND BY NICOLE SCHLINGER AND ERIC LANGE INDIVIDUALLY, FUND-RAISING AND COMMUNICATION SERVICES FOR MAJOR CAMPAIGNS SINCE 1996.

Tags: governors Iowa Tom Vilsack