Iowa Public Television

 

Kevin McCarthy

posted on October 5, 2007

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Yepsen: AT THE IOWA STATEHOUSE, LEGISLATIVE LEADERS CONTINUE WORK ON THE AGENDA FOR THE UPCOMING SESSION OF 2008. WE GET A PREVIEW FROM HOUSE MAJORITY LEADER REPRESENTATIVE KEVIN MCCARTHY ON THIS EDITION OF 'IOWA PRESS.'

FUNDING FOR 'IOWA PRESS' WAS PROVIDED BY 'FRIENDS,' THE IOWA PUBLIC TELEVISION FOUNDATION; AND BY THE IOWA BANKERS ASSOCIATION... FOR PERSONAL, BUSINESS AND COMMERCIAL NEEDS, IOWA BANKS HELP IOWANS REACH THEIR FINANCIAL GOALS.

ON STATEWIDE IOWA PUBLIC TELEVISION, THIS IS THE FRIDAY, OCTOBER 5 EDITION OF 'IOWA PRESS.' HERE IS DAVID YEPSEN.

Yepsen: WELL, TRAFFIC OUT ON THE PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN DOMINATES THE NEWS THESE DAYS, AS CANDIDATES CONTINUE TO MINE SUPPORT FOR THE UPCOMING IOWA CAUCUSES. THAT DOESN'T MEAN THINGS AREN'T HAPPENING ON THE LEGISLATIVE FRONT. AT THE IOWA STATEHOUSE, THE DEMOCRATS AND THE REPUBLICANS ARE SHAPING THEIR RESPECTIVE AGENDAS FOR THE UPCOMING LEGISLATIVE SESSION OF 2008. THE DEMOCRATS REMAIN AS THE MAJORITY PARTY. THE 2008 SESSION COMES IN AN ELECTION YEAR, AND THAT FACT INTRODUCES A POWERFUL DYNAMIC INTO BOTH THE AGENDA AND LEGISLATIVE PROCESS. WELL, REPRESENTATIVE KEVIN MCCARTHY OF DES MOINES SERVES AS THE MAJORITY LEADER IN THE IOWA HOUSE, AND HE'LL LEAD THE DEMOCRATS THERE IN THE SCHEDULED 100-DAY SESSION. MR. MCCARTHY, THANK YOU FOR BEING WITH US.

McCarthy: THANKS FOR HAVING ME.

Yepsen: GOOD TO HAVE YOU BACK.

McCarthy: THANK YOU.

Yepsen: AND ALSO WITH US AT THE 'IOWA PRESS' TABLE ARE IOWA STATEHOUSE REPORTERS KAY HENDERSON OF 'RADIO IOWA' AND MIKE GLOVER OF THE 'ASSOCIATED PRESS.'

Glover: REPRESENTATIVE MCCARTHY, AS DAVID MENTIONED, NEXT YEAR IS AN ELECTION YEAR, SO LET'S JUST START WITH THE ELECTION, PUT POLITICS UP FRONT HERE. YOU'VE ENDORSED DEMOCRAT JOE BIDEN'S CAMPAIGN FOR THE DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL NOMINATION. EVERY OBJECTIVE MEASURE I'VE SEEN -- MONEY, POLLS, ORGANIZATION -- BIDEN'S CAMPAIGN IS GOING NOWHERE. WHY ARE YOU THERE?

McCarthy: WELL, FOR ME, I CAME TO THE CONCLUSION THAT THE NUMBER ONE ISSUE FOR ME, IN TERMS OF SUPPORTING THE PRESIDENT, WAS IRAQ, THE CRISIS WE'RE IN IN IRAQ. I LOOKED AT THE DIFFERENT CANDIDATES AND TRIED TO DETERMINE WHO HAD THE KIND OF WHEREWITHAL, THE EXPERIENCE TO BE ABLE TO SUBSTANTIVELY HANDLE THAT ISSUE IN A WAY THAT GOES BEYOND POLITICAL PANDERING. AND I CAME TO THE CONCLUSION THAT JOE BIDEN WAS THAT CANDIDATE. IN TERMS OF THE POLLS, I THINK A LOT OF THE QUESTIONS I'VE HAD SINCE I ENDORSED HIM, THEY SAY, 'WHY, WHY, GIVEN THE POLL NUMBERS?' ALL I WOULD SAY IS JUST TO REMIND PEOPLE OF WHERE WE WERE AT AT THIS DATE FOUR YEARS AGO. FOUR YEARS AGO RIGHT NOW, WHAT WAS THE STATE OF THE POLITICAL PLAY NATIONWIDE AND IN IOWA. FOUR YEARS AGO HOWARD DEAN WAS PRETTY MUCH THE FORGONE CONCLUSION TO BE OUR PARTY'S NOMINEE. HE HAD JUST OVERTAKEN JOE LIEBERMAN IN THE NATIONAL POLLS WHO WAS NOW SECOND -- JOE LIEBERMAN WAS SECOND. THE ONLY QUESTION WAS WHETHER DEAN COULD TAKE OUT DICK GEPHART IN IOWA, WHO WAS STILL TIED FOR FIRST. JOHN EDWARDS, JOHN KERRY, PEOPLE WONDERED WHETHER THEY WERE GOING TO LEAVE IOWA OR CAMPAIGN AND FOCUS ON THE FEBRUARY 3 STATES. JOHN EDWARDS, WHO DID PRETTY WELL IN THE CAUCUSES, COULDN'T BREAK 4 PERCENT IN A SINGLE SOLITARY CAUCUS POLL UNTIL TWO WEEKS BEFORE THE ELECTION. THE LAST THREE CAUCUS POLLS I SAW IN IOWA HAD JOE BIDEN AT 5 PERCENT.

Glover: AND THERE ARE SOME CYNICS AMONG US ON THE STREET WHO SAY THAT ONE OF YOUR INTERESTS IS ELECTING DEMOCRATS TO THE IOWA HOUSE AND THAT YOU'RE WITH JOE BIDEN BECAUSE HE'S POURED A LOT OF MONEY INTO HOUSE DEMOCRATIC CAMPAIGNS.

McCarthy: I GUESS I'D RESPOND BY SAYING THAT EVERY MAJOR CANDIDATE, WITH THE EXCEPTION OF BESIDES GRAVEL AND KUCINICH, HAS HELPED US IN A VARIETY OF WAYS. SOME OF THAT HAS BEEN FINANCIAL, AND SOME OF THAT HAS BEEN CAMPAIGNING. WE'RE VERY SPOILED IN MANY WAYS AS IOWA ELECTED OFFICIALS. WE GET COURTED; WE GET A LOT OF TIME WITH PEOPLE RUNNING TO BE LEADER OF THE FREE WORLD. I WILL SAY, IN RESPONSE TO YOUR QUESTION, IT IS MY JOB AND SPEAKER MURPHY'S JOB AND SENATE MAJORITY LEADER GRONSTAL AND SENATE PRESIDENT KIBBY'S JOB TO TRY TO LOOK OUT FOR OUR CAUCUS MEMBERS. AND JUST BECAUSE YOU HAVE A CANDIDATE AT THE TOP OF THE TICKET THAT MIGHT BE ABLE TO WIN -- AND I THINK EVERY ONE OF OUR MAJOR CANDIDATES COULD BE ABLE TO PIECE TOGETHER A WIN -- IT DOESN'T GUARANTEE SUCCESS FOR THE DOWN-BALLOT RACES. WE HAVE SEEN IN IOWA WHERE WE HAD A DEMOCRAT AT THE TOP OF THE TICKET IN 1992, AND THAT WAS THE YEAR THE IOWA HOUSE DEMOCRATS LOST THE MAJORITY AND THEIR TOP-OF-THE-TICKET CANDIDATE WON. IN 1994 WE HAD A DEMOCRAT IN THE WHITE HOUSE AND OUR PARTY WAS DECIMATED NATIONWIDE.

Yepsen: SO HOW MUCH MONEY HAS JOE BIDEN GIVEN TO HOUSE DEMOCRATS?

McCarthy: I DON'T KNOW. I THINK FOR 2007, I DON'T KNOW THE EXACT NUMBER. IF YOU WERE TO RANK GIVING, YOU'D PROBABLY HAVE MAYBE OBAMA OR CLINTON AT FIRST, FOLLOWED BY BIDEN AND DODD, FOLLOWED BY RICHARDSON. I DON'T KNOW THE EXACT AMOUNT. MOST OF WHAT THEY DO IS GO INTO OUR DISTRICTS AND LET'S SAY REPRESENTATIVE MIKE REASONER, FOR EXAMPLE, HAS ENDORSED SENATOR BIDEN. HE HAS THREE COUNTIES IN SOUTHERN IOWA. BIDEN WENT DOWN THERE AND DID COOKIES AND PUNCH. A COUPLE HUNDRED PEOPLE CAME TO SEE HIM. I DON'T KNOW IF HE RAISED ANY MONEY OR NOT.

Yepsen: BUT MIKE'S QUESTION, THE BOTTOM LINE IS YOU'RE NOT GOING TO THE HIGHEST BIDDER. THAT'S THE QUESTION.

McCarthy: NO, NO.

Glover: SO HE'S HELPED YOU BUT NO MORE THAN OTHER CANDIDATES HAVE.

McCarthy: WELL, IN TERMS OF OUR CAUCUS, IF YOU WANTED TO GO WITH SOMEBODY WHO WOULD BE ABLE TO RAISE A LOT OF MONEY, I'D BE WITH CLINTON OR OBAMA. IT'S NOT ABOUT MONEY.

Henderson: LET'S STAY FOCUSED ON MONEY. SENATOR BIDEN DID NOT RAISE AS MUCH MONEY IN THE LAST QUARTER AS HE DID IN THE PREVIOUS QUARTER. HE HAD SAID HE WOULD. IF HE CAN'T EVEN MEET HIS OWN FUND-RAISING EXPECTATIONS, WHY IS HE A SERIOUS CANDIDATE FOR THE PRESIDENCY?

McCarthy: I THINK HE'S A SERIOUS CANDIDATE BECAUSE IOWA HAS THE POTENTIAL TO MAKE HIM A SERIOUS CANDIDATE. IF HE DOES NOT DO WELL IN IOWA AND BEAT EXPECTATIONS, THEN HE WILL NOT GO ON WITH THE PRESIDENTIAL CONTEST. IF HE COULD BEAT EXPECTATIONS IN IOWA THEN -- THIS REMINDS YOU -- SENATOR KERRY, WHEN HE WON IOWA, IN THE TEN DAYS FOLLOWING IOWA, $57 MILLION CAME INTO HIS CAMPAIGN ON THE INTERNET ALONE. IOWA COULD REALLY MAKE A CANDIDATE.

Henderson: IN 2004 YOU WERE IN JOE LIEBERMAN'S CAMP. THIS TIME AROUND YOU'RE IN JOE BIDEN'S CAMP. PERHAPS YOU HAVE SOMETHING FOR GUYS NAMED JOE. BUT WHY SHOULD WE TRUST YOUR JUDGMENT THIS TIME AROUND, WHEN YOU DIDN'T HAVE THE JUDGMENT TO ENDORSE THE WINNER LAST TIME AROUND?

McCarthy: WELL, ACTUALLY I ENDORSED AND CAUCUSED FOR JOHN KERRY. I WAS WITH SENATOR LIEBERMAN EARLY ON IN THE CAMPAIGN, AND THEY MADE THE DETERMINATION TO NOT COMPETE IN IOWA. AND THEN I ENDORSED AND CAUCUSED FOR JOHN KERRY, AND I THINK KERRY DID FAIRLY WELL IN THE IOWA CAUCUSES. I'M NOT ASKING ANYBODY TO GO WITH ME BECAUSE -- BECAUSE I ENDORSE. I JUST SAID ALL ALONG TO FOLKS THAT WERE RECORDING ME, I WANT TO GO WITH SOMEBODY I THINK TO BE THE BEST PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES, WHO I FEEL COMFORTABLE WITH, AND WHO'S GOING TO BE FOR DOWN-BALLOT RACES. AND I WANTED TO GO AND CAUCUS FOR SOMEBODY AND DO MY JOB AS A CITIZEN.

Glover: LET'S LOOK AHEAD TO NEXT YEAR. EVERY INDICATION THAT I'VE SEEN, 2008 IS SHAPING UP AS A PRETTY GOOD DEMOCRATIC YEAR. YOU'VE GOT A REPUBLICAN PRESIDENT IN THE WHITE HOUSE WHO'S AT HISTORIC LOW RATINGS IN THE POLLS. YOU'VE GOT A WAR IN IRAQ THAT ALMOST EVERY POLL I'VE SEEN SHOWS AMERICANS HAVE TURNED AGAINST. HOW GOOD OF A YEAR IS IT GOING FOR DEMOCRATS NEXT YEAR?

McCarthy: WELL, LET ME ANSWER IT FROM A PERSPECTIVE AS KIND OF A STRATEGIST FOR HOUSE DEMOCRATS. I AM GOING TO ASSUME THAT IT'S NOT GOING TO BE A GOOD YEAR. AND THE PLAN THAT WE'RE PUTTING IN PLACE IS GOING TO TRY TO ENSURE THAT WE CAN RETAIN THE MAJORITY IF IT'S NOT A GOOD YEAR. NOW, I HOPE THAT IT IS A GOOD YEAR FOR DEMOCRATS. SIGNS ARE POINTING IN THAT DIRECTION, AS YOU SAY. BUT IN 2004, WE HAD A RECORD REPUBLICAN TURNOUT AND JOHN KERRY LOST IOWA. WE STILL WERE ABLE TO PICK UP THREE SEATS DOWN BALLOT. WHAT WE DO IS WE'RE GOING IN AND TRYING TO FIND THE BEST CANDIDATES THAT FIT THEIR DISTRICTS LOCALLY AND THEN TRYING TO HAVE THE RESOURCES TO MATCH THE REPUBLICANS. WE NEVER OUTRAISED REPUBLICANS BUT TRIED TO MATCH THEM IN THE STRETCH RUN. AND THAT'S PROVED TO BE A SUCCESSFUL FORMULA. SO I'M NOT COUNTING ON IT BEING A GOOD YEAR. IF IT'S A BAD YEAR, WE'RE GOING TO TRY TO HAVE A PLAN IN PLACE THAT RETAINS THE MAJORITY.

Yepsen: ONE MORE JOE BIDEN QUESTION. WHEN YOU ENDORSE JOE BIDEN, ARE YOU IN EFFECT SAYING TO OTHER DEMOCRATS THAT YOU DON'T THINK HILLARY CLINTON, BARACK OBAMA, AND JOHN EDWARDS CAN WIN?

McCarthy: WHAT I'M SAYING IS THAT THE FOLKS I HAD ON MY SHORT LIST -- AND I HAD NARROWED MY CHOICES TO JOE BIDEN AND BILL RICHARDSON. WE NEED TO MOVE BEYOND THE 20-PLUS-1 STATE SOLUTION TO GET ELECTED. YOU HAVE TO APPEAL TO PEOPLE IN SWING STATES. AND IF YOU HAVE A CANDIDATE THAT CAN APPEAL TO PEOPLE IN SWING STATES, IT HELPS DOWN-BALLOT RACES.

Yepsen: BUT YOU DON'T THINK THOSE OTHER CANDIDATES ARE GOING TO BE A DRAG ON YOUR CHANCES?

McCarthy: NO. BUT I MADE MY CHOICE FOR JOE BIDEN FOR THE REASONS I SAID. I THINK IRAQ, IRAQ, IRAQ. AND I ALSO WANT TO SAY WHEN I ENDORSED HIM -- I KIND OF LIKE HIM TOO; WE'RE GOOD FRIENDS.

Henderson: AT THE END OF AUGUST, AN IOWA JUDGE ISSUED A RULING ON GAY MARRIAGE. AS A RESULT, THERE ARE MANY IOWANS WHO BELIEVE THERE SHOULD BE A CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT PASSED TO OUTLAW GAY MARRIAGE IN IOWA. WILL THIS NEXT LEGISLATIVE SESSION TAKE UP THAT ISSUE?

McCarthy: I THINK WE'RE GOING TO DO THE RESPONSIBLE THING. AND THERE'S BEEN A LOT OF FOLKS TRYING TO USE THIS ISSUE FOR POLITICAL REASONS. I EXPECT YOU'LL SEE IT USED IN THE CAMPAIGNS, TRYING TO POLARIZE PEOPLE AND DEMONIZE THEM. WE HAD A COURT DECISION THAT WAS MADE IN THE COUNTY. THAT DECISION HAS BEEN STAYED AND THE ENFORCEMENT OF IT HAS BEEN STAYED. IT'S ON APPEAL RIGHT NOW AND WE'RE GOING TO GET A DECISION IN THE NEXT FEW MONTHS. AND I THINK THE RESPONSIBLE THING TO DO IS TO GET THAT DECISION -- I THINK LIKELY THERE'S A COUPLE THINGS THAT ARE GOING TO HAPPEN. ONE IS THE SUPREME COURT IS GOING TO SAY IT'S THE LEGISLATURE THAT MAKES THESE DETERMINATIONS AND WE'VE ALREADY SPOKEN IN THAT REGARD. AS RECENTLY AS LAST SPRING WHEN WE PASSED A CIVIL RIGHTS BILL, WE ADDED AN AMENDMENT TO THAT BILL DEFINING MARRIAGE AS BETWEEN A MAN AND A WOMAN. SO WE HAVE SPOKEN AND THERE WOULD BE NO FURTHER ACTION NEEDED BY THE LEGISLATURE. THE OTHER LIKELY SCENARIO, IF THAT IS NOT THE CASE, IS I THINK THEY MAY LOOK AT THE STANDARD OF REVIEW THAT USED AT THE DISTRICT COURT LEVEL AND SAY YOU USED THE WRONG STANDARD WHICH, IN EFFECT, SHIFTED THE ENTIRE BURNING FOR THE STATE TO DEFEND ITSELF, AS OPPOSED TO WHAT WOULD BE AT LEAST A HISTORIC, PRECEDENT-WISE, WHAT'S CALLED A RATIONAL BASIS REVIEW. SO THEY MIGHT SHIFT THE BURDEN BACK. EITHER WAY, I THINK IT'S PRUDENT TO LET THE SUPREME COURT MAKE IT'S DETERMINATION IN THE NEXT FEW MONTHS.

Glover: TO BE CLEAR, WHAT YOU'RE SAYING IS THAT UNLESS THE SUPREME COURT RULES THAT GAY MARRIAGE BANS ARE ILLEGAL, YOU'RE NOT GOING TO DO ANYTHING ABOUT IT. YOU WON'T FEEL THE NEED TO ACT.

McCarthy: WE'RE NOT GOING TO BOX OURSELVES INTO ANY PARTICULAR POSITION. I'M NOT GOING TO MAKE A PLEDGE NOW THAT WE'D HAVE TO ALTER, BUT I THINK THE COURT IS GOING TO RULE IN THE NEXT FEW MONTHS. I THINK ONE OF THOSE TWO THINGS ARE LIKELY TO OCCUR, WHICH I JUST SPOKE OF, AND WE'RE GOING TO LET THEM --

Glover: ANOTHER HOT ISSUE THAT'S LAYING OUT THERE IS THIS WHOLE ISSUE OF BUILDING A NEW PRISON. THE ONLY MAXIMUM SECURITY PRISON IN IOWA IS FORT MADISON. PORTIONS OF THAT PRISON DATE TO BEFORE THE CIVIL WAR. AT WHAT POINT DOES THIS STATE BITE THE BULLET AND BUILD A NEW PRISON?

McCarthy: THERE'S REALLY TWO ISSUES THAT GET MERGED TOGETHER, AND I THEY NEED TO BE SEPARATED. THE FIRST ISSUE IS WE HAVE A VERY LARGE PRISON POPULATION. WE ARE POTENTIALLY IN DANGER OF A FEDERAL JUDGE SAYING WE ARE UNCONSTITUTIONAL BECAUSE THERE'S TOO MUCH OVERCROWDING. SO WE WANT TO LOOK AT SOME THINGS REGARDING MAYBE SOME SENTENCING REFORM. WE'RE NOT GOING TO REDUCE ANY CRIMINAL SENTENCES IN A WAY THAT WOULD BE WEAK ON CRIME. WE WANT TO BE TOUGH ON CRIME, BUT WE ALSO WANT TO BE SMART ON CRIME, SO THERE MAY BE SOME MORE FOCUS ON COMMUNITY-BASED CORRECTIONS. ONLY 6 PERCENT OF THE FOLKS IN OUR PRISON POPULATION ARE VIOLENT OFFENDERS, ONLY 6 PERCENT, AND YET WE HAVE THOUSANDS AND THOUSANDS OF THEM INCARCERATED. SO THERE MIGHT BE SOME OPPORTUNITIES FOR MORE INVESTMENT IN COMMUNITY-BASED CORRECTIONS. THAT'S A SEPARATE ARGUMENT FROM WHAT YOU POINTED OUT, IS WE HAVE A PRISON THAT DATES BEFORE THE CIVIL WAR. THERE'S INFRASTRUCTURE PROBLEMS. YOU'VE GOT PIECES OF CONCRETE AND STONE CRUMBLING, AND THERE'S SOME INFRASTRUCTURE NEEDS A THAT PRISON. I DON'T KNOW IF WE NEED TO DO AN ENTIRE NEW PRISON, BUT WE'RE GOING TO TAKE A SERIOUS LOOK AT THAT.

Yepsen: ARE YOU GOING TO REDUCE THE 2000-FOOT LIMIT ON SEX OFFENDERS?

McCarthy: I DON'T THINK SO.

Henderson: THE PRISON REPORT THAT WAS ISSUED THIS PAST MONTH ALSO SUGGESTED YOU NEED A NEW WOMEN'S PRISON. DO YOU AGREE WITH THAT?

McCarthy: WELL, AT SOME POINT WE'LL NEED TO LOOK AT THAT ISSUE. I DON'T THINK THAT'S GOING TO BE ON THE AGENDA FOR THE COMING SESSION.

Glover: I'D LIKE TO GET YOU TO LOOK AT THAT WHOLE SENTENCING ISSUE JUST A LITTLE BIT BECAUSE YOU TOUCHED ON THE -- IT SEEMS TO BE THE CAPTION OF THAT WHOLE ISSUE. ANY TIME YOU PLAY AROUND WITH SENTENCING REFORM, YOU'RE LEAVING YOURSELF OPEN TO THE CHARGE YOU'RE BEING SOFT ON CRIME UNLESS YOU MAKE SENTENCES LONGER. HOW DO YOU DEAL WITH THAT IN AN ELECTION YEAR?

McCarthy: WELL, BY INVESTING MORE IN COMMUNITY-BASED CORRECTIONS, YOU DON'T HAVE TO ALTER SENTENCING ISSUES; IT'S JUST HOW THEY SPEND THEIR TIME WHILE THEY'RE INCARCERATED. SO YOU DON'T HAVE TO ALTER SENTENCES. WE'RE NOT GOING TO BE LOWERING CRIMINAL PENALTIES ON PEOPLE. WHAT WE MIGHT DO IS TO LOOK AT SOME THINGS, FOR EXAMPLE, WE HAVE CRACK COCAINE PENALTIES WHICH, DURING THE 1980S, WERE RATCHETED UP, AND POWDER COCAINE PENALTIES WERE NOT. AND THAT'S ONE OF THE REASONS WHY WE HAVE THE HIGHEST PERCENT OF MINORITIES INCARCERATED OF ANY STATE IN THE UNION IS BECAUSE OF THAT DISPARITY THAT WAS PUT IN PLACE IN THE 1980S. WHAT IS THE ANSWER? THE ANSWER IS -- MAY NOT BE TOO -- SOME PEOPLE WOULD ARGUE, ALL RIGHT, LET'S DROP THE PENALTIES, BUT MAYBE YOU LOOK AT SOME SORT OF EQUALIZATION BETWEEN THE TWO AND THEN SOME MORE FOCUS ON COMMUNITY-BASED CORRECTIONS.

Glover: AND WILL YOU TALK ABOUT THAT IN AN ELECTION YEAR, THE NUMBER OF BLACKS, THE MINORITY MEMBERS WE HAVE IMPRISONED IN THIS STATE, WHICH IS, AS YOU MENTIONED, AT HISTORIC HIGHS?

McCarthy: WELL, I DON'T THINK THAT'S GOING TO BE SOMETHING THAT WOULD BE PUT OUT IN A POLITICAL MAILING, BUT IT'S SOMETHING THAT PEOPLE WHO ARE MATURE POLICY MINDED PEOPLE AND CONCERNED ABOUT EQUAL RIGHTS, THAT'S SOMETHING THAT PEOPLE ARE GOING TO TALK ABOUT IN THE POLICY CONTEXT. IT PROBABLY WOULDN'T MAKE THE POLITICAL FIELD.

Henderson: ANOTHER DISCUSSION OF POLICY, THE STATE GAS TAX. IT HASN'T BEEN RAISED IN QUITE A LONG TIME. THERE'S A GROUP OF LEGISLATORS DISCUSSING WHETHER IT SHOULD AND HOW THAT SHOULD BE DISTRIBUTED. DO YOU GUESSTIMATE THAT THE LEGISLATURE WILL VOTE TO RAISE THE GAS TAX?

McCarthy: FIRST OF ALL, I THINK PEOPLE OF BOTH PARTIES THAT HAVE LOOKED AT THE ISSUE HAVE RECOGNIZED IT. WE ARE GOING TO HAVE A LOOMING SHORTFALL IN OUR RED FUNDING. AND THE GOODS NEWS IS -- AND I VISITED WITH THE GOVERNOR ABOUT THIS AS RECENTLY AS YESTERDAY. WE'RE GOING TO HAVE SOME SORT OF INFRASTRUCTURE PACKAGE THAT'S GOING TO PUT A HECK OF A LOT OF FUNDING INTO OUR ROADS. SO THAT'S THE GOOD NEWS. I THINK THAT'S SOMETHING THAT --

Henderson: WHERE IS THE MONEY COMING FROM?

McCarthy: WE'RE GOING TO LOOK AT A WHOLE HOST OF ISSUES. THERE'S GOING TO BE A VERY LARGE MENU, WHICH WE'RE GOING TO HAVE TO SELECT FROM. I'VE GOT TO TELL YOU THE GAS TAX IS SOMETHING -- I WAS IN A GROUP -- IN FRONT OF A GROUP OF PEOPLE A FEW WEEKS AGO, AND I ASKED EVERYBODY THERE, WHAT DO YOU THINK -- I TALKED ABOUT THE ROAD ISSUE, HOW MANY PEOPLE THINK WE NEED MORE FUNDING PUT IN OUR ROADS. AND FOR THOSE PEOPLE THAT WANTED TO ANSWER, THEY PRETTY MUCH ANSWERED YES. AND IS SAID HOW MANY PEOPLE THAT WANT THEIR GAS FAXES RAISED, THEY'LL PAY FOR IT. I THINK THERE MIGHT HAVE BEEN TWO OR THREE PEOPLE THAT RAISED THEIR HAND. PART OF THIS IS AN EDUCATIONAL PROCESS. WE'VE GOT TO LET PEOPLE KNOW THAT ONE OF THE THINGS THAT IS GOOD ABOUT OUR SYSTEM THAT'S CONSTITUTIONALLY PROTECTED IS AGAINST THE OUT-OF-STATE DRIVER. ANYBODY COMING FROM MINNESOTA DOWN TO MISSOURI OR FROM NEBRASKA OVER TO ILLINOIS, YOU'RE DRIVING ON IOWA ROADS, YOU'RE GOING TO HAVE TO STOP AND FILL UP YOUR TANKS WITH GAS, AND THEY'RE HELPING FUND OUR ROADS. BUT IT'S TOO PREMATURE AT THIS STAGE TO SAY WHAT WILL BE IN THAT MENU OF INFRASTRUCTURE FUNDING ITEMS.

Henderson: WELL, ARE YOU GOING TO DRAW ON OTHER SOURCES OF REVENUE TO PAY FOR BRIDGE REPAIR, ROAD CONSTRUCTION?

McCarthy: WELL, THERE'S A WHOLE HOST OF THINGS THAT CAN BE LOOKED AT THAT MAY BE ON THE TABLE, BUT IT'S JUST TOO PREMATURE TO GET INTO SPECIFICS.

Yepsen: WELL, LET ME ASK YOU SPECIFICALLY ABOUT ONE, AND THAT'S THIS BREAK THAT PICKUP TRUCKS GET. ARE YOU GOING TO DO SOMETHING TO RAISE THE -- EVERY PICKUP PAYS $65. PEOPLE BUY A NEW CAR, THEY'LL PAY SEVERAL HUNDRED DOLLARS. WHY SHOULD PICKUPS GET A BIG BREAK HERE?

McCarthy: YOU'RE REFERRING TO THE SO-CALLED URBAN COWBOYS.

Yepsen: RIGHT.

McCarthy: MY BROTHER-IN-LAW HAS ONE, BY THE WAY. WE'RE GOING TO LOOK AT THAT ISSUE, BUT IT'S TOO PREMATURE TO SAY -- MAYBE, MAYBE WE COULD DO SOMETHING PROSPECTIVELY. I'M NOT SAYING THAT'S ON THE TABLE, BUT MAYBE PROSPECTIVELY WHERE THERE WOULD BE SOME MORE EQUITY BETWEEN THE TWO. BUT IT'S TOO PREMATURE TO SAY.

Henderson: WELL, I MEAN IT'S A STICKY PROBLEM FOR YOU BECAUSE DEMOCRATS REMEMBER THAT THEY RAISED THE TAX ON MINI VANS AND THEN LOST CONTROL OF THE LEGISLATURE MAINLY BECAUSE REPUBLICANS RAISED THAT ISSUE IN CERTAIN DISTRICTS. I MEAN ARE YOU SETTING YOURSELF UP FOR FAILURE?

McCarthy: WELL, I'M NOT SAYING WE'RE GOING TO DO IT, BUT WE'RE GOING TO BE RESPONSIBLE --

Henderson: IS THAT WHY YOU WOULDN'T DO IT?

McCarthy: HERE'S WHAT WE WOULD DO. WE WOULD SIT DOWN IN A BIPARTISAN WAY WITH REPRESENTATIVE TJEPKES AND REPRESENTATIVE HUSER AND REPRESENTATIVE RANTS AND REPRESENTATIVE PAULSON AND OTHERS ON THE DEMOCRATIC SIDE, AND WE'LL SAY, 'WE HAVE A ROAD FUNDING SHORTFALL. WHAT WILL WE DO IN AN ABSOLUTE BIPARTISAN FASHION TO PUT FUNDING IN OUR ROADS?' AND UNLESS IT'S DONE IN AN ABSOLUTE 50/50 BIPARTISAN FASHION, IT PROBABLY WON'T HAPPEN.

Glover: SO YOU'RE SAYING THAT IT'S GOT TO HAVE REPUBLICAN VOTES; DEMOCRATS WON'T DO IT ON THEIR OWN?

McCarthy: ABSOLUTELY.

Glover: I WAS TO TALK ABOUT ANOTHER ISSUE. I WAS AT THE IOWA FEDERATION OF LABOR CONVENTION THIS PAST SUMMER, AND THERE WAS A REAL PALPABLE ANGER AT THAT MEETING AT YOU, AT DEMOCRATS, OVER A COUPLE OF ISSUES THAT LABOR WANTS THAT YOU COULDN'T DELIVER ON. LET'S TAKE A LOOK AT IT. FAIR SHARE, REQUIRING PEOPLE WHO DON'T BELONG TO A UNION BUT WHO ARE IN A BARGAINING UNIT TO PAY A FEE FOR REPRESENTATION BY THE UNION. WILL YOU PASS THAT THIS YEAR?

McCarthy: LET ME TRY TO BE VERY CLEAR ON WHAT THE ISSUE THAT ACTUALLY WAS BEFORE US AT THE END OF YEAR. IT'S BEEN INCREDIBLY MISREPRESENTED BY -- AND IT'S A VERY PARTISAN ISSUE, I UNDERSTAND. BUT LET'S BE CLEAR ABOUT WHAT IT IS. WE HAVE THE NATIONAL LABOR RELATIONS ACT THAT WAS PASSED IN 1935. IT WAS AMENDED IN 1947 BY TAFT-HARTLEY. STATES WERE ABLE TO PASS WHAT WE CALLED 14B STATUTES, 14B AUTHORIZED STATUTES THAT AFFECT PRIVATE SECTOR RELATIONSHIPS BETWEEN EMPLOYERS AND EMPLOYEES. IOWA PASSED THEIR STATUTE IN 1948, THE SO-CALLED RIGHT TO WORK STATUTE. I AND OTHERS HAVE PLEDGED THAT WE WILL NOT ALTER, REPEAL, AMEND, OR DO ANYTHING TO DISTURB IOWA'S RIGHT-TO-WORK STATUTE, WHICH GOVERNS THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN PRIVATE SECTOR EMPLOYEES. THE ISSUE THAT WAS BEFORE US LAST YEAR INVOLVED COLLECTIVE BARGAINING AGREEMENTS IN THE PUBLIC SECTOR, ABOUT BETWEEN 1 AND 2 PERCENT OF IOWA'S WORK FORCE, TO SEE WHETHER, IN THE PUBLIC SECTOR, IN A VOLUNTARILY FASHION, EMPLOYERS AND EMPLOYEES THAT WANT TO NEGOTIATE, SOME SORT OF MECHANISM, WHEREBY IF A NONMEMBER WERE TO GRIEVE, LET'S SAY, UTILIZE THE SERVICE OF A UNION, SHOULD THAT BE SUBSIDIZED BY THE UNION MEMBERS. NOBODY CAN BE FORCED TO JOIN THE BOY SCOUTS OR A BOWLING LEAGUE OR A UNION AGAINST THEIR WILL. THAT'S UNCONSTITUTIONAL. THE ONLY QUESTION WAS WHETHER SOMEONE WHO IS A NONMEMBER WHO IS UTILIZING THE SERVICES OF THE UNION, WHETHER THEY WOULD HAVE TO PAY A FEE. THAT WAS THE ONLY DISCUSSION THAT WAS THERE. IT WAS A VERY LIMITED DISCUSSION. AND I UNDERSTAND WHAT YOU'RE SAYING; THERE'S A LOT OF FOLKS THAT WERE DISAPPOINTED. WE DID A LOT OF GREAT THINGS LAST YEAR. WE HAD A HISTORIC SESSION, BUT WE COULDN'T, AFTER 42 YEARS OF BEING A MINORITY, BE ABLE TO DO --

Yepsen: HOW ABOUT AN ANSWER TO MIKE'S QUESTION. WHAT YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT IS CALLED FAIR SHARE. ARE YOU GOING TO DO IT OR NOT?

McCarthy: WELL, WE DIDN'T HAVE THE VOTES TO DO IT LAST YEAR.

Yepsen: YOU'VE GOT A NEW LEGISLATOR BACK FROM IRAQ. DO YOU HAVE THE VOTES NOW?

McCarthy: WE'RE GOING TO MAKE THAT DETERMINATION PRIOR TO THE LEGISLATIVE SESSION. IF WE HAVE THE VOTES, IT WOULD BE SOMETHING THAT WE WOULD LOOK AT. IF WE DON'T HAVE THE VOTES, THEN IT'S NOT SOMETHING WE WOULD FOCUS ON AFTER THE SESSION STARTS.

Glover: ANOTHER LABOR ISSUE THAT'S LAYING OUT THERE IS WHAT'S CALLED A PREVAILING WAGE. YOU HAVE TO PAY THE PREVAILING WAGE, I.E., THE UNION WAGE, FOR PUBLICLY FINANCED PROJECTS. WILL YOU DEBATE THAT THIS YEAR?

McCarthy: THAT'S SOMETHING THAT WE'RE GOING TO HAVE TO TALK TO THE SENATE ABOUT AND THE HOUSE ABOUT. THAT WAS AN ISSUE THAT PERCOLATED AT A COMMITTEE LEVEL IN THE HOUSE SIDE. IT REALLY HAD NO DISCUSSION ON THE SENATE SIDE. I'M NOT SURE WHERE THE SENATE IS ON THAT ISSUE. THAT GETS INTO AN ISSUE -- ILLINOIS HAS PREVAILING WAGE, FOR EXAMPLE. THERE IS UNDOCUMENTED WORKERS, CHEAP LABOR, POOR INFRASTRUCTURE. THERE'S A WHOLE HOST OF ISSUES THAT GO ALONG WITH PREVAILING WAGE, BUT IT'S TOO EARLY TO SAY --

Glover: WELL, WHAT DO YOU SAY TO A BIG CONSTITUENCY OF DEMOCRATS, ORGANIZED LABOR, WHEN THEIR TWO TOP PRIORITIES YOU'RE NOT SURE YOU CAN DELIVER ON? I MEAN ISN'T YOUR RESPONSIBILITY TO A MAJOR CONSTITUENCY, IF YOU DON'T HAVE THE VOTES, TO FIND A WAY TO GET THE VOTES?

McCarthy: NO. WE ARE STRONG SUPPORTERS OF WORKING MEN AND WOMEN, AND THEY -- I THINK OVERALL I'VE HAD CONVERSATIONS WITH MOST OF THE LEADERS IN THE STATE -- ARE VERY PLEASED WITH WHAT WE DID WITH EDUCATION AND HEALTH CARE. THOSE ARE THINGS THAT THEY STAND FOR. MINIMUM WAGE, FOR EXAMPLE, WE PASSED A BIG CONTRACTING LEGISLATION LAST YEAR WHICH REDUCES THE DUPLICATION IT NEEDS FOR LICENSING FOR ELECTRICAL WORKERS. WE'RE GOING TO BE ADVOCATES FOR WORKING MEN AND WOMEN MOVING FORWARD. WE'RE GOING TO WORK WITH THEM AS PARTNERS. PART OF BEING PARTNERS AND PART OF BEING IN A MARRIAGE IS SOMETIMES YOU HAVE SOME STRIFE, AND YOU'VE GOT TO WORK THROUGH THAT.

Henderson: IOWA'S BUSINESS COMMUNITY IS UP IN ARMS ABOUT COMMERCIAL PROPERTY TAXES. LEGISLATORS HAVE TALKED FOR YEARS ABOUT ADDRESSING THIS ISSUE, BUT THEY NEVER DO. WILL THE NEXT LEGISLATURE ACTUALLY DO SOMETHING?

McCarthy: YOU BRING UP SOMETHING -- I'LL JUST VENT BRIEFLY. I'VE BEEN IN MY JOB AND THE GOVERNOR HAS BEEN IN HIS JOB FOR NINE MONTHS. YOU'D THINK WE WOULD HAVE BEEN HERE FOR NINE YEARS. WE WALKED IN NINE MONTHS AGO TO HAVE A WHOLE HOST OF PROBLEMS. THERE WAS A BIG HOLE LEFT FOR US: WHETHER IT WAS THE TUITIONS INCREASING BY 90 PERCENT AT OUR PUBLIC UNIVERSITIES, THAT WAS A HOLE; WHETHER MINIMUM WAGE HAD FALLEN WAY BEHIND, THAT WAS A HOLE; WE HAD -- TEACHER PAY HAD FALLEN TO 42ND IN THE COUNTRY; AND 29-YEAR PROBLEM WITH COMMERCIAL PROPERTY TAXES. AND EVERYBODY WAS THERE SAYING WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO ABOUT IT. AND IT IS A VERY VEXING PROBLEM. REPUBLICANS WERE NOT ABLE TO FIGURE IT OUT BECAUSE WE'RE NOT GOING TO BE SHIFTING THE TAX BURDEN TO RESIDENTAL HOME OWNERS. THERE ARE SOME IDEAS THAT ARE PERCOLATING NOW. THE COMMISSION -- THE INTERIM COMMISSION I THINK HAS ACTUALLY COME UP WITH SOME THINK-OUTSIDE-THE-BOX SOLUTIONS. I'M NOT GOING TO SAY WHAT WE'RE GOING TO DO EXACTLY, BUT I WILL SAY THAT I FOUND SOMETHING INTERESTING. AT THE LAST COMMISSION MEETING SOMEBODY FLOATED AN IDEA THAT SAID RIGHT NOW THE REVENUE COLLECTION DONE BY CITIES IS THEY'RE CONSTRAINED TO REVENUE MENU OPTION 'A.' WHAT IF COMPLETELY VOLUNTARILY, A CITY WOULD BE GIVEN AN OPTION TO DO REVENUE OPTION B, WHICH WOULD INCLUDE SOME SORT OF FEES TO PAY FOR POLICE AND FIRE FROM NONPROFITS. IT COULD BE CONTROVERSIAL. BUT IF YOU DO REVENUE OPTION B, IT'S MANDATED THAT A PERCENTAGE OF THAT GOES INTO COMMERCIAL PROPERTY TAX RELIEF. AND THAT'S MAYBE A WAY TO GET SOME RELIEF. IT'S A STRUCTURAL CHANGE --

Glover: IT SOUNDS LIKE A WAY FOR LOCAL OFFICIALS TO TAKE THE HEAT FOR DOING SOMETHING YOU CAN'T DO. [ LAUGHTER ]

McCarthy: THAT'S AT LEAST SOMETHING THAT'S BEING DISCUSSED AT THE COMMISSION.

Glover: LET'S TALK ABOUT ANOTHER PERENNIAL ISSUE, REPRESENTATIVE MCCARTHY, AND THAT'S WHAT DO YOU DO ABOUT GIANT HOG PRODUCTION FACILITIES? IT GETS A LOT OF PEOPLE IN RURAL IOWA UP IN ARMS. THEY SMELL BAD. THEY POLLUTE THE WATER. THEY DO ALL THAT KIND OF STUFF, AND THE SIGNATURE ISSUE IN THAT FIGHT IS LOCAL CONTROL. WILL THIS LEGISLATURE LET LOCAL GOVERNMENTS HAVE THE SAY OF WHERE THESE HOG LOTS ARE LOCATED?

McCarthy: NO, THE VOTES WOULD NOT EVEN BE REMOTELY CLOSE TO PASSING LOCAL CONTROL. WHAT WE WANT TO DO IS FOCUS ON HOW TO MAKE OUR WATER CLEANER, AND WE'VE BEEN WORKING WITH A NUMBER OF GROUPS TO TRY TO COME UP WITH A WATER QUALITY PACKAGE. WE DID PASS ALL THESE GREAT THINGS LAST YEAR, IN WHAT I THINK IS A REALLY HISTORIC SESSION. WE WEREN'T ABLE TO GET COMMERCIAL PROPERTY TAXES DEALT WITH, AND WE WEREN'T ABLE TO DO A WATER QUALITY PIECE. LOCAL CONTROL, I MEAN IF YOU'RE A COUNTY, LET'S SAY, THAT WANTS TO ZONE THESE FACILITIES OUT AND YOU'VE GOT ELECTED OFFICIALS THERE READY TO GO ON IT, THAT MIGHT BE A GREAT THING FOR YOU FOR LOCAL CONTROL. IF YOU'RE A COUNTY THAT, LET'S SAY, HAS A HEAVY CONCENTRATION OF ELECTED OFFICIALS LOCALLY THAT WANTS TO BRING MORE IN FOR ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT, WHAT ABOUT THE COUNTY THAT'S SOUTH OF YOU? MAYBE LOCAL CONTROL IS NOT THE BEST THING WHEN THE MANURE COMES RUNNING DOWN.

Yepsen: IF YOU DO WATER QUALITY -- IF YOU DO WATER QUALITY, WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO ABOUT AIR QUALITY? WHAT I HEAR YOU SAY IS THERE'S NO LOCAL CONTROL, WATER QUALITY, NOTHING ON AIR, SO WE'RE STILL GOING TO HAVE BIG HOG ODOR PROBLEMS IN IOWA.

McCarthy: I THINK IT'S SOMETHING THAT'S GOT TO BE TAKEN IN STEPS; THAT'S THE NATURE OF THE LEGISLATIVE PROCESS. THIS AREA IS HIGHLY COMPLICATED. IT'S REALLY SUPERCHARGED. AND WHEN YOU HAVE A COMMITTEE MEETING ON THIS, YOU HAVE DOZENS AND DOZENS AND DOZENS OF GROUPS REPRESENTED FROM THE ENVIRONMENTAL SIDE TO THE BUSINESS SIDE.

Yepsen: EXCUSE ME. A LOT OF PEOPLE VOTED FOR DEMOCRATS FOR THE LEGISLATURE BASED ON SOMETHING HAPPENING ON THE QUESTION OF IF NOT LOCAL CONTROL, THEN CERTAINLY ON THE ODOR ISSUE. WHAT ARE YOU DOING FOR THEM?

McCarthy: WELL, WE'VE CREATED A SPECIAL COMMITTEE IN THE HOUSE ON AIR AND WATER QUALITY AND TRIED TO COME UP WITH SOME LEGISLATION TO GET THE VOTES IN THE PAST. WE WEREN'T ABLE TO HAVE CONSENSUSES ON AN ISSUE. WE'RE WORKING HARD TO DO SOMETHING ON THE ENVIRONMENT. WE'RE WORKING HARD TO DO SOMETHING ON COMMERCIAL PROPERTY TAXES. IT'S JUST GOING TO TAKE A WHILE TO GET CONSENSUS ON IT.

Glover: IS IT GOING TO BE ON THE AGENDA? AND THE REASON I'M ASKING THAT IS IT'S GOING TO GET EVEN TOUGHER NEXT YEAR THAN IT WAS THIS YEAR, BECAUSE NEXT YEAR IS AN ELECTION YEAR AND REPUBLICANS HAVE ALREADY SAID THAT THE HOUSE IS THEIR TARGET. THEY'RE COMING AFTER YOU IN THE HOUSE BECAUSE THEY'RE ASSUMING THAT THEY CAN'T GET THE SENATE. HOW DO YOU DO SOMETHING ON A CONTROVERSIAL ISSUE LIKE HOG LOTS WHEN YOU'RE GOING TO HAVE A FULL-PRESSED REPUBLICAN ASSAULT ON YOU?

McCarthy: WELL, YOU KNOW, I'VE TALKED TO A LOT OF REPUBLICANS, ESPECIALLY SOME FOLKS THAT REPRESENT UP IN THE OKOBOJI AREA, THEY'D LIKE TO DO SOMETHING ON THE ENVIRONMENT. SO I THINK THERE'S SOME ROOM TO DO SOME BIPARTISAN WORK ON STRENGTHENING THE ENVIRONMENT. THAT IS GOING TO BE ON THE GOAL, AND I THINK IT'S GOING TO BE MORE ON THE WATER QUALITY END.

Henderson: THIS PAST WEEK PRESIDENT BUSH VETOED THE STATE CHILDREN'S HEALTH INSURANCE PROGRAM EXPANSION THAT HAD PASSED THROUGH THE DEMOCRATICALLY CONTROLLED CONGRESS. I'M GUESSING THAT YOU DON'T SUPPORT THE VETO. BEYOND THAT, WHAT IS THE IMPACT ON IOWA? WHAT WILL LEGISLATORS HAVE TO DO IN RESPONSE TO THAT VETO IN THIS SITUATION?

McCarthy: I THINK THAT THE APPROPRIATE RESPONSIBLE RESPONSE RIGHT NOW IS TO NOT TALK ABOUT IT AT A STATE LEGISLATIVE REMEDY; IT'S TO JOIN SENATOR HARKIN AND SENATOR GRASSLEY AND TO ENCOURAGE CONGRESS TO OVERRIDE HIS VETO. THERE MAY BE THE VOTES TO OVERRIDE HIS VETO ON THIS ISSUE. IT'S GENERATED THAT MUCH INTEREST FROM BOTH PARTIES.

Henderson: BUT IOWA IS ONE OF 15 STATES THAT WILL HAVE A SHORTFALL IF THE CONTINUING RESOLUTION THAT THEY ARE AGREEING UPON, IF THAT'S PASSED. IF THE RULES STAY THE SAME, YOU'RE GOING TO RUN SHORT; ARE YOU NOT?

McCarthy: I DON'T WANT TO REMOVE -- WE'RE JUST ONE STATE OUT OF 50, BUT I DON'T WANT TO REMOVE A BARGAINING CHIP BY GIVING THE CONGRESS AN OUT, THAT WE'RE GOING TO STEP IN. OBVIOUSLY, IF WE NEED TO DO SOMETHING TO HELP OUR CHILDREN, WE'RE GOING TO DO IT. BUT I THINK THE RESPONSIBLE COURSE RIGHT NOW IS TO ENCOURAGE AN OVERRIDE OF HIS VETO.

Glover: BUT YOU ACKNOWLEDGE THAT SHOULD THINGS GO THE WAY IT LOOKS LIKE THEY'RE GOING -- AND THE WAY IT LOOKS LIKE THEY'RE GOING IS THEY'RE NOT GOING TO OVERRIDE HIS VETO AND THEY MAY NOT EVEN PASS A CONTINUING BILL. YOU ACKNOWLEDGE YOU'RE GOING TO HAVE TO REACT TO THAT, SHOULD THAT HAPPEN?

McCarthy: WE'RE NOT GOING TO LET CHILDREN SUFFER IN THE STATE. SO IF WE NEED TO DO SOMETHING, WE WILL QUICKLY IMPROVISE, ADAPT, AND OVERCOME, BUT RIGHT NOW WE'RE ENCOURAGING THE OVERRIDE OF THE PRESIDENT'S VETO.

Yepsen: MR. MCCARTHY, WE'VE GOT LESS THAN A MINUTE AND I WANT TO ASK YOU SOMETHING ABOUT WHAT'S CALLED THE SILO TAX, THE LOCAL OPTION SALES TAX FOR SCHOOLS. IT'S BEEN PASSED IN ALL 99 COUNTIES. THERE'S TALK OF JUST MAKING IT ANOTHER PENNY OF THE SALES TAX AND MAKING IT A STATEWIDE PENNY. WHAT WILL YOU DO WITH THAT ISSUE?

McCarthy: I DON'T KNOW. OUR CAUCUS IS LITERALLY ALL OVER THE BOARD ON THAT ISSUE. WHEN WE VISITED ABOUT IT LAST YEAR -- IF YOU'RE IN A COUNTY THAT'S ABOUT READY TO PHASE OUT, YOU'VE HAD YOUR TIME AND YOU'VE DONE IT, THERE'S A LOT OF PEOPLE THAT BELIEVE THAT COMING UP FOR A VOTE AGAIN LOCALLY, THAT IT WOULD FAIL DRAMATICALLY. IN POLK COUNTY, WHICH IS WHERE I LIVE, WE JUST SAW PROJECT DESTINY. I DON'T KNOW WHAT WOULD HAPPEN IF WE WERE TO BRING IT UP FOR A VOTE TO THE PEOPLE. SO YOU AS A LEGISLATURE DO WHAT THE LOCAL FOLKS MAY NOT WANT TO HAPPEN. SOME PEOPLE SUPPORT IT BECAUSE THERE'S A DISPARITY IN THE EXISTING FORMULA, BUT OUR CAUCUS IS LITERALLY ALL OVER THE BOARD ON THE ISSUE. IT'S TOO EARLY TO SAY.

Yepsen: AND SPEAKING OF PHASEOUTS, I HAVE TO PHASE OUT THIS PROGRAM BECAUSE WE'RE OUT OF TIME, MR. MCCARTHY. THANKS FOR BEING WITH US.

McCarthy: THANK YOU SO MUCH.

Yepsen: WE APPRECIATE IT. NOW, ON OUR NEXT EDITION OF 'IOWA PRESS,' WE'RE BACK OUT ON THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL, AND JOINING US IS ARIZONA SENATOR JOHN MCCAIN. SENATOR MCCAIN, ALONG WITH RUDY GIULIANI AND MITT ROMNEY, IS AMONG THOSE SEEKING THE REPUBLICAN NOMINATION FOR PRESIDENT. WE DISCUSS THE CAMPAIGN AND THE ISSUES NEXT WEEKEND AT OUR REGULAR 'IOWA PRESS' AIRTIMES: FRIDAY AT 7:30 P.M. AND SUNDAY MORNING AT 11:30. I'M DAVID YEPSEN OF 'THE DES MOINES REGISTER,' SITTING IN FOR DEAN BORG ON THIS WEEK'S EDITION OF 'IOWA PRESS.' THANKS FOR JOINING US HERE ON IOWA PUBLIC TELEVISION.

FUNDING FOR 'IOWA PRESS' WAS PROVIDED BY 'FRIENDS,' THE IOWA PUBLIC TELEVISION FOUNDATION; AND BY THE IOWA BANKERS ASSOCIATION... FOR PERSONAL, BUSINESS, AND COMMERCIAL NEEDS, IOWA BANKS HELP IOWANS REACH THEIR FINANCIAL GOALS.


Tags: Iowa politics