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IOWA PRESS #2819 - Speaker of the House Brent Siegrist
January 7, 2001

Dean Borg: AT THE IOWA STATEHOUSE, THE LEGISLATIVE SESSION OF 2001 CONVENES TOMORROW MORNING. WE'LL REVIEW THE REPUBLICAN AGENDA WITH SPEAKER OF THE IOWA HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES BRENT SIEGRIST ON THIS EDITION OF IOWA PRESS. FUNDING FOR IOWA PRESS HAS BEEN PROVIDED BY FRIENDS OF IOWA PUBLIC TELEVISION; AND BY THE IOWA BANKERS ASSOCIATION... FOR PERSONAL, BUSINESS, AND COMMERCIAL NEEDS, IOWA BANKS HELP IOWANS REACH THEIR FINANCIAL GOALS; BY THE ASSOCIATION OF BUSINESS AND INDUSTRY... THE VOICE OF IOWA BUSINESS, REPRESENTING THE INTERESTS OF OVER 1,500 IOWA BUSINESSES EMPLOYING 300,000 IOWANS; AND BY THE ASSOCIATED GENERAL CONTRACTORS OF IOWA, THE PUBLIC'S PARTNER IN BUILDING IOWA'S HIGHWAY, BRIDGE, AND MUNICIPAL UTILITY INFRASTRUCTURE. THIS IS THE SUNDAY, JANUARY 7 EDITION OF IOWA PRESS. HERE IS DEAN BORG.

Borg: THE IOWA STATEHOUSE, A BUSY PLACE THESE DAYS. TOMORROW MORNING THE 79TH IOWA GENERAL ASSEMBLY CONVENES. AND WHEN THE GAVEL FALLS, IOWA'S 150 SENATORS AND REPRESENTATIVES BEGIN THEIR SCHEDULED 110-DAY SESSION, THE FIRST OF TWO ANNUAL SESSIONS FOR THE 79TH. AND THEN ON TUESDAY, GOVERNOR TOM VILSACK IS CENTER STAGE, DELIVERING HIS ANNUAL CONDITION OF THE STATE ADDRESS TO IOWA BEFORE A JOINT SESSION OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY. IOWA PUBLIC TELEVISION, BY THE WAY, WILL CARRY THE GOVERNOR'S SPEECH AS HE DELIVERS IT TUESDAY MORNING AT 10, AND IT WILL BE REBROADCAST AT 6:30 THAT NIGHT. NOW, FOR MANY, THERE'S A SENSE OF DEJA VU ABOUT THE STATEHOUSE THESE DAYS, AS THE GENERAL ELECTION OF 2000 PRODUCED NO SHIFT IN POWER. IOWA'S DEMOCRATIC GOVERNOR IS AGAIN WORKING WITH REPUBLICAN CONTROL IN BOTH THE SENATE AND THE HOUSE. IN FACT, THE MAJORITY MARGINS IN BOTH HOUSES ARE EXACTLY THE SAME: 30 TO 20 IN THE SENATE; 56 TO 44 IN THE HOUSE. SO IT'S IN THAT ENVIRONMENT THAT REPRESENTATIVE BRENT SIEGRIST OF COUNCIL BLUFFS BEGINS ANOTHER LEGISLATIVE SESSION AS SPEAKER OF THE IOWA HOUSE. WELCOME BACK TO IOWA PUBLIC TELEVISION. Siegrist: GOOD TO BE HERE, DEAN. THANKS.

Borg: AND ACROSS THE TABLE, TWO PEOPLE YOU KNOW WELL UP AT THE STATEHOUSE: REPORTERS DAVID YEPSEN OF THE DES MOINES REGISTER AND MIKE GLOVER OF THE ASSOCIATED PRESS.

Glover: MR. SPEAKER, THE GOVERNOR SAYS HE THINKS THIS IS GOING TO BE, IN HIS WORDS, A PRODUCTIVE AND EXCITING SESSION BECAUSE BOTH SIDES, REPUBLICANS AND DEMOCRATS, ARE TALKING ABOUT THE SAME ISSUES. THERE MAY BE SOME DIFFERENCES IN HOW THEY WANT TO APPROACH THEM, BUT EVERYBODY IS ON THE SAME PAGE AS TO WHAT ISSUES NEED TO BE ADDRESSED. WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT THAT?

Siegrist: I WOULD TEND TO CONCUR WITH THAT STATEMENT. I THINK THAT THIS CAMPAIGN BROUGHT OUT SOME OF THE ISSUES THAT WE DO TEND TO AGREE ON. I THINK THE REAL DIFFICULTY OF THIS SESSION IS GOING TO BE HOW WE FUND THOSE PRIORITIES. WE THINK WE'RE GOING TO HAVE SIGNIFICANT DIFFICULTIES WITH THE WAY THE GOVERNOR WANTS TO GO ABOUT SOME OF THOSE THINGS. BUT CLEARLY, RAISING TEACHER SALARIES, LOOKING AT WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT ISSUES, TRYING TO MAKE SOME CHANGES AS IT RELATES TO THE DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN SERVICES ARE ON EVERYBODY'S AGENDA. WE JUST MAY HAVE DIFFERENT WAYS OF GOING ABOUT IT. IT WILL BE A REAL CHALLENGE, BUT I'M OPTIMISTIC.

Glover: SO YOU THINK YOU'LL ACTUALLY HAVE SOME ACCOMPLISHMENTS.

Siegrist: YES, WE HAD ACCOMPLISHMENTS LAST YEAR, AND I'M GOING TO WORK VERY HARD, REGARDLESS OF THE POLITICAL RAMIFICATIONS TO MAKE SOME CHANGES THAT IOWANS WILL LIKE.

Glover: WELL, LET'S TALK ABOUT THAT FOR A SECOND. HOW DO YOU ACCOMPLISH THINGS IN THE POLITICAL ENVIRONMENT WHERE THE NEXT ELECTION IS GOING TO BE A GUBERNATORIAL ELECTION, THE FIRST REELECTION EFFORT BY A DEMOCRATIC GOVERNOR, THE FIRST IN 30 YEARS, WHERE SOME MEMBERS OF THIS LEGISLATION WILL LIKELY BE RUNNING AGAINST HIM? HOW DO YOU ACCOMPLISH SOMETHING?

Siegrist: IT'S DIFFICULT. AS WE ALL KNOW, POLITICS DOES INFUSE ITSELF INTO EVERYTHING, BUT WE'RE STILL TWO YEARS AWAY FROM THE GUBERNATORIAL ELECTION. I THINK THIS YEAR WILL BE EASIER THAN NEXT YEAR. WE'RE BOTH GOING TO HAVE TO TRY TO RISE ABOVE THAT TO THE EXTENT THAT IF WE'RE GOING TO RAISE TEACHER SALARIES, WE NEED TO WORK IN A BIPARTISAN MANNER TO GET THAT DONE. WE ALL BENEFIT FROM THAT. I THINK SOME OF THE NATURAL DIFFERENCES WE HAVE WITH GOVERNOR VILSACK WILL COME ABOUT JUST BECAUSE OF THE DIFFERENCES IN PHILOSOPHY. WE DON'T HAVE TO PUT THEM UP THE FLAG POLE; THEY'RE GOING TO OCCUR AS A NATURAL FORCE.

Yepsen: AFTER THE LAST ELECTION, YOU INDICATED THAT MANY OF YOUR MEMBERS WERE SORE AT TOM VILSACK FOR CAMPAIGNING AGAINST THEM IN THE LEGISLATIVE ELECTIONS. HAS THAT DISSIPATED SOME?

Siegrist: WELL, I THINK SO. ACTUALLY I THINK IT WAS THE MAJORITY VIEW THAT SAID THAT, BUT SOME MEMBERS WERE UPSET. FROM MY VIEWPOINT, GOVERNOR VILSACK DID WHAT GOVERNORS DO. HE WENT OUT AND CAMPAIGNED FOR HIS SLATE OF CANDIDATES, AND WE BEAT HIM. SO I THINK SOME OF THAT HAS FADED SINCE THE ELECTION. Yepsen: MR. SPEAKER, THE ONE ISSUE EVERYBODY IN IOWA CARES ABOUT RIGHT NOW ARE HIGH HEATING BILLS. WHAT WILL THIS LEGISLATURE DO TO LOWER ENERGY COSTS FOR IOWANS?

Siegrist: WELL, AS YOU KNOW, IF YOU PAY ATTENTION TO THE SITUATION, IT IS MORE OF A FEDERAL AND A WORLDWIDE PROBLEM WITH SUPPLY AND DEMAND. THERE'S NOT A LOT WE CAN DO IN TERMS OF LOWERING HEATING PRICES HERE IN IOWA. IT'S NOT MID AMERICAN ENERGY OR ALLIANT ENERGY'S FAULT. THEY ARE A RATE-REGULATED INDUSTRY AND THEY ARE MAKING THE PROFITS THE STATE HAS ALLOWED THEM TO MAKE; HOWEVER, BECAUSE OF PIPELINE DISTRIBUTION PROBLEMS AND SO ON, DOWN THE LINE WE HAVE SOME DIFFICULTIES HERE WITH THESE RISING PRICES. ONE THING WE ARE LOOKING AT IS PERHAPS SUSPENDING THE SALES TAX ON OUR ENERGY COSTS FOR A COUPLE OF MONTHS IN TERMS OF GIVING SOME LITTLE BIT OF RELIEF. WHAT WE NEED TO DO IS DEVELOP A MORE COHERENT ENERGY POLICY, PARTICULARLY AT THE FEDERAL LEVEL BUT ALSO AT THE STATE LEVEL. IN 2003 IOWA, IF WE DO NOT BUILD A NEW POWER PLANT, IS GOING TO BE AN IMPORTER OF ENERGY, AND THAT WILL BE EVEN WORSE. SO WE NEED TO LOOK AT SITING CONTROLS FOR BUILDING A NEW POWER PLANT IN IOWA. WE NEED TO DEVELOP SOME MORE ALTERNATIVE POWER METHODS. BUT MOST IMPORTANT, I THINK PRESIDENT-ELECT BUSH NEEDS TO HAVE A MORE COHERENT POLICY THAN WE'VE HAD IN MANY YEARS AT THE FEDERAL LEVEL.

Borg: AS NATURAL GAS FUELS FOR HOMEOWNERS GO UP, THOUGH, YOU COLLECT MORE SALES TAX, AND YET YOU SAY YOU'RE THINKING ABOUT SUSPENDING IT. CAN YOU AFFORD THAT IN THE BUDGET?

Siegrist: WELL, WE THINK WE CAN AND THE REPUBLICANS HAVE SAID, AT MINIMUM WE WANT TO SUSPEND THE SALES TAX FOR A COUPLE MONTHS SO WE DON'T GAIN ANY MORE SALES TAX THIS YEAR THAN WE DID LAST YEAR DUE TO HIGH ENERGY PRICES. SO WE'D LIKE TO AT LEAST HAVE A REVENUE NEUTRAL SUSPENSION OF THE SALES TAX FOR A COUPLE MONTHS. WE'RE LOOKING INTO THAT.

Yepsen: MR. SPEAKER, WHAT IS THE CONDITION OF THE STATE BUDGET?

Siegrist: THE CONDITION OF THE STATE BUDGET IS STILL VERY STRONG. AS ANYBODY KNOWS THAT'S PAYING ATTENTION TO THAT, WE STILL HAVE OVER A HALF-BILLION DOLLAR SURPLUS. THE CONDITION OF THE YEAR-TO-YEAR BUDGET IS A VERY DIFFICULT BUDGET. THE ECONOMY IS SLOWING DOWN. WE ARE SITTING HERE TODAY ON A SUNDAY, THE DAY BEFORE SESSION OPENS, YEAR TO DATE AT NEGATIVE GROWTH COMPARED TO LAST YEAR. WE HAVE SOME SIGNIFICANT CONCERNS ABOUT WHETHER OR NOT WE'RE GOING TO MEET REVENUE PROJECTIONS. WE HAVE TO REALLY TIGHTEN DOWN THE HATCH AND OUR BELT YEAR TO YEAR, BUT WE STILL HAVE A LARGE SURPLUS. SO FISCALLY WE'RE OKAY BUT IT'S A TOUGH BUDGET YEAR.

Yepsen: WILL THIS LEGISLATURE DO WHAT YOU'VE DONE IN THE LAST TWO SESSIONS, AND THAT IS SPEND MORE THAN YOU'VE TAKEN IN REVENUES?

Siegrist: I DO NOT BELIEVE SO. WE'RE GOING TO TRY VERY HARD NOT TO HAVE THAT HAPPEN. THAT'S WHERE I THINK SOME OF THE REAL HEAD BUTTING IS GOING TO COME IN THIS SESSION. THE GOVERNOR IS GOING TO HAVE SOME RECOMMENDATIONS, AS I UNDERSTAND IT -- I HAVEN'T SEEN HIS BUDGET AND WON'T SEE IT FOR A FEW DAYS -- THAT WE'RE NOT GOING TO WANT TO DO. I'M TOLD THAT HE WANTS TO RAID THE ROAD USE FUND TO THE TUNE OF ABOUT FOUR MILLION DOLLARS. WE'RE NOT GOING TO DO THAT. HE'S GOING TO TRY TO FIND SOME PLACES TO KIND OF CREATIVELY MOVE SOME MONEY AROUND. WE'LL RESIST SOME OF THOSE, MOST OF THOSE. SO WE'RE GOING TO -- WE'VE PROVEN, I THINK, THAT WE CAN REALLY HOLD THE LINE, AND WE'RE GOING TO TRY AGAIN THIS YEAR TO KEEP SPENDING UNDER CHECK. Glover: LET'S GO TO PROBABLY THE BIGGEST TICKET ITEM YOU'RE GOING TO DEAL WITH, AND THAT'S GOING TO BE INCREASING TEACHER PAY. TWO QUESTIONS: HOW MUCH DO YOU HAVE TO SPEND IN THE FIRST YEAR TO INCREASE TEACHER PAY TO MAKE A SIGNIFICANT DIFFERENCE, AND HOW IS THAT TEACHER-PAY PACKAGE GOING TO BE CORRECTED? WHAT'S IT GOING TO LOOK LIKE?

 

Siegrist: HAVE YOU GOT A COUPLE HOURS? THOSE ARE TWO DIFFICULT QUESTIONS, AND I'LL TRY TO SHRINK IT DOWN. WE DON'T KNOW EXACTLY HOW MUCH IT'S GOING TO COST, BECAUSE THERE'S A COUPLE OF PARTS OF THIS, INCLUDING WHAT WE CALL -- IT'S PERFORMANCE-BASED PAY, VARIABLE PAY. WE DON'T KNOW WHAT THE FINAL VERSION OF THAT IS GOING TO BE, SO WE CAN'T REALLY PEG HOW MUCH IT'S GOING TO COST.

Glover: OKAY, AN ESTIMATE.

Siegrist: MY ESTIMATE WOULD BE ABOUT $50 MILLION A YEAR.

Glover: WHERE DO YOU GET IT?

Siegrist: WELL, YOU KNOW, WHAT I WOULD LOVE THE GOVERNOR TO DO -- AND I DON'T THINK HE'LL DO IT -- IS TO GO TO EACH ONE OF HIS DEPARTMENT HEADS AND SAY I NEED $30 MILLION. THAT'S 6/10 OF 1 PERCENT OF THE STATE BUDGET. FIND IT FOR ME. AND I WOULD LOVE TO HAVE HIM COME TO ME AND SAY, "MR. SPEAKER, HERE'S $30-MILLION WORTH OF CUTS IN OUR BUDGET. FIND ME THE OTHER $30 MILLION AND LET'S RAISE TEACHER SALARIES." I WISH HE WOULD DO THAT. SIX-TENTHS OF 1 PERCENT ISN'T GOING TO DEVASTATE ANY ONE DEPARTMENT OR ANYBODY IN THE STATE GOVERNMENT. BUT THE ANSWER TO YOUR QUESTION IS WE'RE GOING TO HAVE TO HAVE SOME NEW MONEY AND MANY REALLOCATIONS WITHIN THE BUDGET, AND THAT IS GOING TO BE DIFFICULT. BUT I THINK THE REPUBLICAN MAJORITY HAS PROVEN THAT WE'RE WILLING TO GO TO THOSE DEPARTMENTS AND SAY, LOOK, WE'RE GOING TO TAKE THIS PROGRAM AND CONSOLIDATE IT WITH THIS PROGRAM AND WE'RE GOING TO USE THAT MONEY TO RAISE TEACHER SALARIES.

Glover: WHAT ELSE WILL IT INCLUDE? OTHER THAN MONEY FOR HIGHER TEACHER PAY, WHAT OTHER FORCES AND FACTORS WILL BE IN THAT BILL? WHAT WILL YOU REQUIRE OF TEACHERS?

Siegrist: WE DO HAVE A VERY STRONG BIPARTISAN GROUP, INCLUDING THE GOVERNOR'S STAFF, WORKING ON THAT. WE ARE TRYING TO DO THIS IN A BIPARTISAN WAY. WHAT IT WILL INCLUDE IS THIS: THE OVERRIDING TENET IS WE'RE GOING TO REPLACE A SYSTEM THAT REWARDS SENIORITY AND REPLACE IT WITH A SYSTEM THAT REWARDS PERFORMANCE, BE IT STUDENT PERFORMANCE OR TEACHER OBJECTIVES. WE'RE GOING TO BUILD A CAREER LADDER SO THAT A TEACHER KNOWS THAT WHEN YOU'RE AT THIS POINT, IF YOU ACHIEVE THIS GOAL, THEN YOU'RE GOING TO GO TO THIS POINT AND WE'RE GOING TO PAY YOU MORE MONEY. THERE ARE A LOT OF DETAILS TO WORK OUT THERE, BUT WE ARE GOING TO BASE IT ON PERFORMANCE. NOT A BUNCH OF NEW HOOPS FOR TEACHERS TO JUMP THROUGH, BUT REAL IDENTIFIABLE GOALS. IF YOU ACHIEVE THIS -- AND IT'S NOT NECESSARILY A COMPETENCY TEST -- BUT IF YOU ACHIEVE THIS GOAL OR THIS STAFF DEVELOPMENT TRAINING, THEN WE'RE GOING TO GIVE YOU A LITTLE BUMP IN YOUR SALARY AND MAKE IT A MORE PRODUCTIVE AND A MORE ATTRACTIVE PROFESSION.

Yepsen: MR. SPEAKER, WHAT WILL THIS TEACHER-PAY PACKAGE MEAN FOR RURAL SCHOOLS? I HEAR SOME URBAN EDUCATORS SAY, "YOU GUYS ARE GOING TO DUMP A WHOLE BUNCH OF MONEY INTO LITTLE RURAL SCHOOLS THAT OUGHT TO CLOSE." I HEAR RURAL SCHOOLS SAY, "THE BIG BAD STATE IS GOING TO DUMP A LOT OF MANDATES ON US THAT WE CAN'T AFFORD." WHAT'S IT GOING TO MEAN FOR SMALL, RURAL SCHOOLS.

Siegrist: YOU KNOW, THE DIFFICULTIES OF THIS PLAN ARE: NUMBER ONE, FUNDING; NUMBER TWO IS HOW DO YOU BALANCE RURAL AND URBAN INTERESTS; AND NUMBER THREE, HOW DO YOU BALANCE THE BEGINNING TEACHER WITH THE VETERAN TEACHER. I SPENT EIGHTEEN YEARS IN THE CLASSROOM. I'M AWARE OF THE DIFFICULTIES OF PUTTING THIS TOGETHER. BUT WHAT WE HAVE TO DO HERE -- WHAT WE'RE ATTEMPTING TO DO IS TO SAVE SOME OF OUR RURAL AREAS, NOT SAVE RURAL SCHOOLS BUT MAKE SURE OUR RURAL CHILDREN ARE GETTING AN ADEQUATE EDUCATION. WE'RE GOING TO BE VERY CAREFUL PUTTING THIS PROGRAM TOGETHER THAT WE'RE NOT PROPPING UP SCHOOL DISTRICTS THAT, FRANKLY, ARE GOING TO HAVE TO CONSOLIDATE BECAUSE OF FINANCIAL CONDITIONS IN THE OUTYEARS. BUT AT THE SAME TIME, I REPRESENT AN URBAN COMMUNITY. I HAVE TO MAKE SURE THAT THE URBAN DISTRICTS ARE TAKEN CARE OF. THERE'S A LOT OF HARD WORK THERE, DAVID, BUT I THINK WE CAN DO IT. WE NEED TO RAISE BEGINNING SALARIES SO THAT I KNOW MOUNT AYR, IOWA, HAS THE SAME CHANCE OF GETTING A GOOD TEACHER AS URBANDALE DOES. TO DO THAT WE'LL HAVE TO RAISE THE MINIMUM SALARY. THEN I THINK THE BIGGER DISTRICTS WILL PROBABLY HAVE SOME MORE OPPORTUNITIES WITH SOME OF THE PERFORMANCE PAY PROGRAMS AND SO ON. IT'S A TOUGH BALANCE BUT I DO THINK WE CAN GET IT DONE.

Glover: IS THERE ROOM -- IF YOU STOP SHORT OF ACTUAL SCHOOL DISTRICTS MERGING, IS THERE ROOM FOR SCHOOL DISTRICTS TO MOVE MORE AGGRESSIVELY IN SHARING COSTS, STUFF LIKE PURCHASING, ADMINISTRATIVE EXPENSES, THINGS LIKE THAT?

Siegrist: THERE IS, MIKE, AND THE AEAs HAVE BEEN DOING A GOOD JOB OF TRYING TO DO SOME SHARED PURCHASING AND THINGS OF THAT NATURE. LAST YEAR WE ASKED THE DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION AND TED STILWILL, WHO IS AN OUTSTANDING DIRECTOR AND IS REALLY A BIG PART OF THIS, TO TELL US SOME THINGS WE MIGHT BE ABLE TO DO TO HELP WITH SHARING OF CONSOLIDATION, SOME INCENTIVES. WE'LL CONSIDER THOSE AGAIN IN A VERY TIGHT BUDGET YEAR WHEN WE SEE THOSE RECOMMENDATIONS FROM THE DEPARTMENT.

Glover: AND WHAT IS THE DANGER THAT THIS FIGHT OVER SCHOOLS, RURAL AND URBAN SCHOOLS, WILL EXACERBATE A RURAL/URBAN SPLIT THAT'S DEVELOPING AT THE LEGISLATURE?

 

Siegrist: YOU KNOW, IT IS A DIFFICULT SCENARIO, AS I POINTED OUT. BUT FROM MY VIEWPOINT -- AGAIN, I'M AN URBAN LEGISLATOR -- WE HAVE TO WORK TOGETHER TO MAKE SURE THAT THE KIDS IN RURAL IOWA ARE GETTING THE SAME EDUCATION THEY'RE GETTING IN THEIR URBAN AREAS, PARTICULARLY OUR SUBURBAN AREAS. WE CAN'T LET THAT HAPPEN. WE WERE VERY SUCCESSFUL IN THE CAMPAIGN, WHICH IS A VERY PARTISAN CAMPAIGN, THAT WE DID NOT MAKE THIS A POLITICAL FOOTBALL. SO I AM OPTIMISTIC WE HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY. I REALLY BELIEVE WE CAN PUT THIS TOGETHER. I THINK THE MOST DIFFICULT PART IS GOING TO BE FINDING THE FUNDING. AND THE GOVERNOR IS GOING TO SHOW US HIS BLUEPRINT FOR THE FUNDING. I'M JUST REALLY AFRAID WE'RE NOT GOING TO AGREE WITH SOME OF IT AND WE'RE GOING TO HAVE TO DIG DEEPER TO FIND THE FUNDING.

Borg: YOU'RE ALSO GOING TO BE DEALING WITH, ON ANOTHER ASPECT WITH IOWA'S YOUNGER POPULATION, IN CHILD ABUSE. WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO?

Siegrist: WELL, I'M GOING TO LAY OUT A COUPLE OF THINGS HERE. I KNOW THE GOVERNOR AND THE DEPARTMENT, THEY SAY GIVE US MORE MONEY, WE NEED MORE CASE WORKERS, AND THERE'S PROBABLY A CASE TO BE BUILT TO THAT. NUMBER ONE, I'M REVIEWING THE OMBUDSMAN REPORT, AND THEY'VE HAD SEVERAL REPORTS AS IT RELATES TO THE SHELBY DUIS CASE. NUMBER ONE, I WANT TO MAKE SURE THE SYSTEM OF CHILD ABUSE REPORTING WORKS. IT DOESN'T MAKE ANY SENSE TO THROW MORE MONEY INTO IT UNTIL WE MAKE SURE IT WORKS. THERE'S OBVIOUSLY SOME PARTS OF IT THAT HAVE NOT WORKED, THE INTAKE CALLS AND THINGS LIKE THAT. SO FIRST, LET'S REFORM THAT PART. SECONDLY, WE NEED MUCH BETTER TRAINING OF OUR MANDATORY REPORTERS, WHICH ARE DOCTORS AND NURSES AND TEACHERS. WE NEED TO OVERHAUL THAT. WE ARE NOT ADEQUATELY TRAINING THOSE PEOPLE. THIRDLY, THAT'S THE SECOND BIGGEST DEPARTMENT, THE DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN SERVICES. WE NEED TO SEE WHAT RESOURCES WE CAN REALLOCATE WITHIN THAT DEPARTMENT, SOME OF WHICH WE'VE DONE, BUT THERE MAY BE PEOPLE THERE WE CAN MOVE INTO THOSE AREAS. AFTER WE DO THOSE THREE THINGS, THEN I THINK WE NEED TO CONSIDER THE POTENTIAL FOR ADDITIONAL FUNDING AND ADDITIONAL CASE WORKERS. I THINK WE HAVE TO GO THROUGH THOSE FIRST THREE THINGS TO MAKE SURE THAT WHATEVER WE DO ADD MAKES SENSE. SO THAT'S WHERE I THINK WE'LL BE COMING FROM.

Glover: HOPPING FROM ISSUE TO ISSUE, JUST LAST WEEK THERE WAS A RALLY AT THE STATEHOUSE. THREE GOVERNORS AND 56,000 SIGNATURES WERE PRESENTED TO YOU TO EXPAND THE STATE'S BOTTLE DEPOSIT BILL TO INCLUDE OTHER KINDS OF CONTAINERS TO INCREASE THE HANDLING FEE THAT GROCERY STORES AND REDEMPTION CENTERS GET. WHAT'S GOING TO HAPPEN? WHAT'S THE FUTURE OF THAT?

Siegrist: WELL, THERE'S AN INTERIM COMMITTEE THAT'S MEETING ON THAT. SITTING HERE TODAY, I'M NOT SURE ANYTHING IS GOING TO HAPPEN. IT'S CLEAR TO ME THE BOTTLE BILL WILL NOT BE REPEALED, BUT IT'S ALSO NOT AS CLEAR TO ME THAT WE WON'T SEE AN EXPANSION, BUT THERE'S SIGNIFICANT RESISTANCE TO AN EXPANSION. I SUSPECT IN THE NEXT MONTH, I'LL PROBABLY GET A TON OF PETITIONS SAYING DON'T EXPAND IT TOO. THERE'S SOME DEEP-SEATED FEELINGS ON THAT ISSUE. SO SITTING HERE TODAY, TO BE AS BRUTALLY HONEST AS I CAN BE, I'M NOT SURE THERE WILL BE ANY CHANGE.

Yepsen: BESIDES, THE GROCERY LOBBY AND THE BEER DISTRIBUTORS DON'T WANT TO SEE THIS EXPANDED.

 

Siegrist: THAT WOULD BE THE MAJORITY OF THAT.

Yepsen: WELL, IS YOUR OPPOSITION TO THIS OR THE RELUCTANCE OF REPUBLICANS TO EXPAND THIS THING AND FACE AN OVERWHELMING PUBLIC SUPPORT FOR EXPANDING IT -- IS REPUBLICAN OPPOSITION TO THIS BECAUSE YOU GET A LOT OF MONEY FROM THE GROCERY LOBBY AND BEER DISTRIBUTORS?

Siegrist: NO, NOT AT ALL.

Yepsen: SO I COULDN'T ADD UP THE CAMPAIGN CONTRIBUTIONS AND EXPLAIN WHY THERE'S RELUCTANCE TO EXPAND THE BOTTLE BILL?

Siegrist: PROBABLY NOT, BECAUSE MOST MEMBERS PROBABLY DON'T RECEIVE VERY MUCH MONEY FROM THOSE PEOPLE. LET ME GIVE YOU AN EXAMPLE, AND THIS IS TRUE. IN A LOT OF YOUR COMMUNITIES - I'M GOING TO PICK ON HY-VEE. HY-VEE IS THE BIGGEST EMPLOYER IN THE STATE. YOU KNOW, THOSE STORE MANAGERS IN THOSE COMMUNITIES OF THOSE HY-VEE STORES ARE WELL-RESPECTED PEOPLE, AND THEY HAVE GOOD CONTACTS WITH LEGISLATORS AND THEY TALK TO THEM EVERY DAY WHEN YOU GO SHOPPING. AND THEY ARE TIRED OF HAVING ALL OF THESE DIRTY CANS COMING INTO THEIR BUILDING, AND THEY'D RATHER REPLACE IT WITH A COMPREHENSIVE RECYCLING PLAN. AND THAT HAS AN IMPACT ON THEM.

Yepsen: SO WHY DON'T YOU DO THAT?

Siegrist: WELL, THAT'S WHAT SOME OF THOSE GROUPS ARE WORKING TOWARDS, BUT RIGHT NOW WE HAVEN'T BEEN ABLE TO FIND A CONSENSUS. THE RECYCLING -- A CURBSIDE RECYCLING PLAN WON'T WORK UNLESS YOU HAVE THE ALUMINUM CANS AND THE WASTE STREAM TO ACTUALLY PAY FOR IT. THEN THAT MEANS THAT YOU DO SOMETHING TO THE BOTTLE BILL, WHICH YOU CAN'T GET DONE. IT'S KIND OF ONE OF THOSE AREAS THAT'S GOING TO BE TOUGH TO FILTER OUT.

Yepsen: AS MIKE SAID, WE'VE GOT MORE ISSUES. PACKING PLANT... WILL THIS LEGISLATURE BE DOING ANYTHING TO FACILITATE A NEW MEATPACKING PLANT SOMEWHERE IN IOWA?

Siegrist: IF THERE IS SOMETHING THE LEGISLATURE NEEDS TO DO TO HELP WITH THAT PROCESS, I THINK YOU WILL SEE US WILLING TO DO THAT. I THINK WE DO NEED A NEW BEEF PACKING PLANT SOMEWHERE IN IOWA. IT NEEDS TO GO SOMEPLACE WHERE THEY ARE GOING TO WELCOME IT MORE THAN THEY WOULD HAVE UP IN CAMBRIDGE. AND I THINK WHEN YOU DO OPEN THAT PACKING PLANT, IT'S INHERENT UPON THE STATE, AS WELL AS THE COMMUNITY, TO PROVIDE SOME RESOURCES. FOR EXAMPLE, IF THERE'S GOING TO BE AN INFLUX OF IMMIGRANTS WORKING AT THAT PLANT, TO HELP MAKE SURE WE HAVE, PERHAPS, MORE RESOURCES FOR ENGLISH AS A SECOND LANGUAGE IN THAT COMMUNITY'S SCHOOL. SO WE WILL LOOK UPON THAT. IF THERE IS SOME REQUEST FOR US TO DO SOMETHING, WE NEED TO CONSIDER THAT. ABSOLUTELY.

Glover: PRISONS AND PUBLIC SAFETY... ONE OF THE MOST FUNDAMENTAL RESPONSIBILITIES OF STATE GOVERNMENT IS TO PROTECT ITS CITIZENS. THE HEAD OF THE DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS SAYS YOU NEED TO EITHER REFORM THE STATE SENTENCING PRACTICES OR BUILD HIM A NEW PRISON. WHICH WILL YOU DO?

Siegrist: WE WON'T BUILD A NEW PRISON THIS YEAR, BUT HE IS ABSOLUTELY RIGHT. IF HIS PROJECTIONS ARE THAT -- AND I BELIEVE HE SAID FIVE PRISONS OVER THE NEXT SEVEN YEARS -- WE CAN'T AFFORD TO DO THAT. WE CANNOT DO THAT. WE DON'T HAVE THE MONEY TO BUILD THOSE PRISONS. WE DON'T HAVE THE MONEY TO STAFF THEM. SO I INTEND TO SIT DOWN WITH THE JUDICIARY CHAIR IN THE HOUSE AND HOPEFULLY IN THE SENATE AND SAY, OKAY, WE DID A FEW THINGS LAST YEAR, WHAT'S THE ANSWER TO THIS PROBLEM? I WAS JUST READING IN YESTERDAY'S PAPER, GEORGE PATAKI IN NEW YORK, A VERY STAUNCH REPUBLICAN THERE, SAYING THEY NEED TO DO SOMETHING ON SOME OF THEIR SENTENCING LAWS ALSO. WE TRIED LAST YEAR. WE DIDN'T GET MUCH DONE. THAT WAS BECAUSE OF THE HOUSE, AND THAT IS ANOTHER ISSUE THAT WE HAVE TO SIT DOWN AND WORK THAT OUT. WE CAN'T BUILD FIVE NEW PRISONS.

Glover: POLITICALLY, CAN YOU DO SENTENCING REFORM, WHICH MEANS SENDING PEOPLE TO PRISON FOR LESS TIME, AND SURVIVE A SOFT-ON-CRIME CHARGE?

Siegrist: WELL, I THINK WE CAN BECAUSE I THINK WHAT YOU'RE GOING TO HAVE TO DO IS LOOK AT OTHER ALTERNATIVES... COMMUNITY-BASED CORRECTIONS, WHERE YOU TAKE SOME NONVIOLENT OFFENDERS AND PUT THEM IN THERE. I'M NOT SUGGESTING POLITICALLY THIS IS EASY, BUT I AM SUGGESTING THAT AS A LEADER, I NEED TO PUSH AHEAD ON THAT BECAUSE WE CAN'T PUT ALL OF OUR RESOURCES INTO THE PRISON INDUSTRY. WE NEED TO PUT THEM SOMEPLACE ELSE.

Yepsen: VISION IOWA... YOU'VE GOT ABOUT A BILLION DOLLARS WORTH OF GOOD IDEAS COMING AT YOU FROM AROUND THE STATE, BUT ONLY $180 MILLION TO SPEND ON THEM. WILL THE LEGISLATURE PROVIDE MORE MONEY FOR THE VISION IOWA PROGRAM?

Siegrist: THE LEGISLATURE WILL NOT PROVIDE MORE MONEY FOR IT THIS YEAR. I HOPE IN THE OUTYEARS, THIS IS STEP ONE OF A MULTISTEP PROCESS. A LOT HAS BEEN MADE IN THE PAPER ABOUT $300 MILLION, AND THERE'S ONLY $180 MILLION TO GIVE OUT. I HASTEN TO ADD THAT WE SAID THAT WHEN WE WERE PASSING THE BILL TO SERVICE THE DEBT: THIS WILL ACTUALLY ONLY HAVE $180 MILLION WORTH OF GRANTS TO HAND OUT. WE KEEP CONVENIENTLY LOPPING OFF THE $50 MILLION WE DID FOR SCHOOL INFRASTRUCTURE. SO ACTUALLY, WE DID BOND $350 MILLION TOTAL. BUT TO ANSWER YOUR QUESTION DIRECTLY, I DON'T THINK WE'LL PUT MORE MONEY IN IT THIS YEAR, BUT I THINK WHEN WE FUND A FEW OF THESE PROJECTS, AND THEY'RE WONDERFUL PROJECTS, THEN I THINK THE LEGISLATURE WILL BE WILLING TO LOOK AT THAT IN AN OUTYEAR ONCE WE SEE SOMETHING COMING UP FROM THE GROUND.

Glover: LET'S TURN BACK TO POLITICS, IF WE COULD, JUST FOR A SECOND, BECAUSE POLITICS COVERS EVERYTHING AT THE HILL. THERE'S BEEN A LOT OF TALK ABOUT THINGS THAT YOU'RE GOING TO SEND THE GOVERNOR, KNOWING THAT HE'LL VETO THEM. WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO SEND HIM TO FORCE HIM TO VETO? THERE'S TALK ABOUT SENDING HIM SOME GAY RIGHTS LEGISLATION AND SENDING HIM SOME RIGHT TO WORK LEGISLATION, KNOWING HE'LL VETO BOTH.

Siegrist: YOU KNOW, I SMILE EVERY TIME I READ THE PAPER. MY GOOD FRIEND, SENATOR GRONSTAL, THE DEMOCRATIC LEADER IN THE SENATE, MINORITY LEADER I MIGHT ADD, EVERY TIME I READ THE PAPER: "OH, THEY'RE JUST GOING TO DO THAT TO EMBARRASS THE GOVERNOR." YOU KNOW, WE'RE GOING TO SEND THE GOVERNOR A BILL THAT SAYS PUT BACK THE REFERENCE, THE RIGHT TO WORK, ON DEPARTMENT OF ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT DOCUMENTS. I WANT HIM TO SIGN THAT. I'M NOT SENDING THAT TO HIM TO HAVE HIM VETO IT. WE WOULDN'T BE DOING IT EXCEPT THAT HE ORDERED IT REMOVED, AND WE THINK THAT'S WRONG. SO IS THAT POLITICS? YEAH, BUT IT'S NOT. WE BELIEVE THAT.

Glover: SO YOU'RE GOING TO SEND HIM A RIGHT TO WORK.

Siegrist: WE'RE GOING TO SEND HIM THAT. AND I'LL TELL YOU THE OTHER THING WE'RE GOING TO SEND HIM. WE'RE GOING TO SEND HIM -- BECAUSE WE CAMPAIGNED ON IT. WE'RE GOING TO REPEAL -- ELIMINATE THE SOCIAL SECURITY TAX ON SENIOR CITIZENS IN THE STATE OF IOWA. IS THAT GOING TO BE TOUGH TO DO AND DO TEACHER SALARIES? YES. BUT MY JOB IS TO FIND THAT MONEY. I'LL PHASE IT OUT OVER THREE YEARS. IT WILL COST -- IT DOESN'T COST ANYTHING. THE PEOPLE OF IOWA, THE SENIOR CITIZENS WILL KEEP $48 MILLION IN THEIR POCKETS. I HAVE TO FIND THAT MONEY. I WANT HIM TO SIGN THAT. I TRULY DO. IF HE VETOES IT, SO BE IT. BUT THE DEMOCRATS THINK LAST MAY, WELL, WE SAT AROUND: "WHAT CAN WE DO TO EMBARRASS THE GOVERNOR"? WE SAT AROUND AND SAID, "WHAT'S GOOD FOR IOWA AND ALSO WHAT HELPS US GET REELECTED."

 

Glover: BUT YOU'LL SEND HIM, ALSO, A REPEAL OF THE ORDER ON GAY RIGHTS?

Siegrist: NO, WE WON'T. WE DID THAT LAST YEAR. HE VETOED IT. I DON'T THINK WE'LL DO THAT AT ALL.

Yepsen: HOW DO YOU AFFORD SOME OF THESE THINGS? YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT REPEALING THE SALES TAX ON UTILITY BILLS FOR A PERIOD OF TIME. YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT NOW GETTING RID OF THE TAX ON ALL INCOME EARNERS WHO GET SOCIAL SECURITY. WHAT'S THE PRICE TAG FOR THAT?

Siegrist: WELL, THE REPEAL -- OR THE SUSPENSION OF THE ENERGY TAX, THE WAY WE PLAN TO DO IT WOULD BE REVENUE-NEUTRAL FROM LAST YEAR. THAT DOESN'T MEAN THAT THE GOVERNOR HASN'T SPENT THAT MONEY, AND WE'LL HAVE TO CUT BACK HIS BUDGET. THE ONLY TAX CUT -- REAL SIGNIFICANT TAX CUT WE'RE LOOKING AT IS THE ELIMINATION OF SOCIAL SECURITY TAX. WE'RE ONE OF 14 STATES THAT DO THAT.

Yepsen: WHAT DOES THAT DO? SAVE TAXPAYERS --

Siegrist: $48 MILLION.

Yepsen: IN THE FIRST YEAR?

Siegrist: WELL, THAT'S THE TOTAL AMOUNT OF MONEY WE COLLECT FROM OUR SENIOR CITIZENS. WE WILL BE WILLING TO PHASE IT OUT OVER THREE YEARS, SO IT WILL BE A $16-MILLION HIT. BY THE WAY, WE DID $11 MILLION LAST YEAR. THIS IS NOT SOME HUGE TAX CUT. THIS IS A TAX CUT THAT WE CAN AFFORD TO DO TO KEEP OUR SENIORS IN THE STATE.

Borg: IS THAT A CUT ONLY ON SOCIAL SECURITY -- A REPEAL ON SOCIAL SECURITY, OR DOES IT INCLUDE ALL PENSIONS?

Siegrist: NO, THIS IS JUST ON SOCIAL SECURITY. JANUARY FIRST OF LAST WEEK, THE EXEMPTIONS FOR YOUR PENSION WENT FROM 5,000 AND 10,000 SINGLE AND MARRIED TO 6- AND 12,000, WHICH THE GOVERNOR SIGNED. SO, YOU KNOW, ON OUR BORDERS, THAT'S HELPING KEEP SOME OF OUR SENIOR CITIZENS. IF WE DO SOMETHING ON SOCIAL SECURITY, WE HAVE SOME WEALTHY INDIVIDUALS, AS WELL AS SOME VERY MODERATE INDIVIDUALS, MOVING ACROSS RIVER LINES TO SAVE SOME MONEY, AND WE THINK THIS IS THE RIGHT THING TO DO. AND BY THE WAY, WE RAN ON IT JUST LIKE TOM VILSACK RAN ON REDUCING CLASS SIZES AND WE DID THAT. WE RAN ON SOCIAL SECURITY TAX ELIMINATION, AND WE'RE GOING TO PASS IT.

Glover: IS THERE A MIDDLE GROUND THERE ANYWHERE THAT YOU CAN REACH WITH THE GOVERNOR, MAKE IT A SLIDING SCALE, CERTAIN INCOME LEVELS YOU DO IT?

Siegrist: I MEAN, I THINK IF WE'RE GOING TO DO IT, WE OUGHT TO ELIMINATE THE TAX. MAYBE IT'S OVER FOUR YEARS INSTEAD OF THREE YEARS. WE'LL SIT DOWN AND TALK ABOUT THAT.

Yepsen: YOU MAY BE GETTING A WINDFALL. THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT IS LOOKING LIKE THEY'RE GOING TO CUT TAXES. BECAUSE WE HAVE FEDERAL DEDUCTABILITY IN IOWA, WHEN UNCLE SAM CUTS HIS TAXES, YOU ALL GET MORE MONEY. ARE YOU GOING TO KEEP THAT WINDFALL?

 

Siegrist: IF THAT HAPPENS, NO. I SUSPECT THAT WILL BE A TAX DEBATE FOR THE NEXT SESSION, NOT THIS SESSION, BECAUSE I DON'T THINK YOU'LL SEE THAT TAX CUT BILL GO THROUGH CONGRESS. WHEN WE DO THAT, NO, WE WOULDN'T WANT TO KEEP THAT WINDFALL. WE'LL LOOK AT SOME OTHER TAX TO REDUCE.

Yepsen: I WANT TO KNOW WHAT YOU'RE GOING TO CUT HERE, MR. SPEAKER. YOU'RE GOING TO RAISE TEACHER PAY. YOU'RE SPENDING MORE THAN YOU TAKE IN IN REVENUES. YOU'RE GOING TO GET RID OF THE SALES TAX ON UTILITY BILLS. YOU'RE GOING TO GET RID OF THE INCOME TAX ON SOCIAL SECURITY INCOME. WHAT ARE REPUBLICANS GOING TO CUT OUT OF THE STATE BUDGET IN ORDER TO BE ABLE TO MAKE THIS ALL PENCIL OUT?

Siegrist: WELL, LAST YEAR, AS YOU KNOW, WE ACTUALLY DID GO INTO SOME OF THESE BUDGETS AND REDUCE AND ELIMINATE SOME PROGRAMS. A LOT OF WHAT'S GOING TO HAPPEN HERE IS CONSOLIDATION OF PROGRAMS, AND I THINK WE'LL SAVE SOME MONEY THERE. WE DO HAVE SOME NEW MONEY THAT WILL BE AVAILABLE. BUT SOME OF IT -- AND I HEARD REPRESENTATIVE MYERS, THE DEMOCRATIC LEADER IN THE HOUSE, SIT IN THIS CHAIR AND SAY HOUSE DEMOCRATS ARE NOT GOING TO REALLOCATE ANY EDUCATION MONEY. WELL, IN WHICH CASE, THIS PLAN WILL FAIL. EVEN THE GOVERNOR KNOWS YOU HAVE TO REALLOCATE SOME MONEY. SO WE'LL LOOK AT THINGS LIKE PHASE THREE. THERE ARE A LOT OF PROGRAMS OUT THERE. WE CAN ROLL SOME OF THAT MONEY IN, WHICH WILL BE PART OF WHAT YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT, A SIGNIFICANT PART. AND IF WE DO THAT, EVERYBODY SAYS, WELL, THEN AREN'T YOU ROBBING PETER TO PAY PAUL. WELL, WE'RE REALLY NOT BECAUSE IF I CAN SET UP A SALARY SCHEDULE, IF I CAN LEAD -- NOT "I"... "US" -- IF WE CAN LEAD THE NATION IN REFORMING THE WAY WE PAY TEACHER SALARIES, FOUR OR FIVE YEARS FROM NOW, ONCE THIS HAS IMPLEMENTED ITSELF, TEACHERS ARE GOING TO GET PAID MORE, BUT WE'RE GOING TO HAVE BETTER ALLOCATION OF THE RESOURCES. WE SPEND $2.3 BILLION A YEAR TEACHING OUR KIDS IN THE STATE OF IOWA. IT'S NOT LIKE THERE'S NOT A SIGNIFICANT AMOUNT OF MONEY THERE. WE JUST HAVE TO REALLOCATE IT IN A BETTER WAY. WE HAVE TO HAVE THE COURAGE TO DO THAT. Glover: ONE OF THE THINGS THE GOVERNOR IS TALKING ABOUT IS FUNDAMENTALLY REVAMPING THE WAY THE STATE DOES ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT, THE PROGRAMS, TO MOVE AWAY FROM A COMPANY-SPECIFIC INCENTIVE TYPE SYSTEM TO MORE OF A CLUSTER SYSTEM FOR INFORMATION-AGE INDUSTRIES. IS THERE A CONSENSUS IN THE LEGISLATURE TO MOVE IN THAT DIRECTION?

Siegrist: I DON'T KNOW IF THERE'S A CONSENSUS, BUT I THINK IT'S SOMETHING WE WILL TAKE SOME SIGNIFICANT TIME LOOKING AT. THE GOVERNOR TRIED TO DO SOME THINGS LAST YEAR IN MERGING SOME PROGRAMS. MANY OF THE THINGS WE AGREED WITH. A COUPLE OF THEM WE DIDN'T. HE TRIED TO MOVE SOME OF THESE WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT FUNDS IN, CONSOLIDATE THEM AND, IN ONE CASE, CUT SOME OF THE WORKER TRAINING FUNDS THAT WOULD BE AVAILABLE FOR COMMUNITY COLLEGES, AND WE HAD TO RESTORE THAT. BUT WE'LL GIVE VERY STRONG CONSIDERATION TO WHAT HE'S PRESENTING TO US IN THOSE AREAS. WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT IS AN IMPORTANT AVENUE FOR US TO TRAVEL DOWN. I WILL SAY THIS: THERE ARE PROGRAMS AROUND THIS STATE THAT REALLY WORK. UP IN WAVERLY/SHELLROCK WITH JOHN DEERE AND A COUPLE OTHER CORPORATIONS, THEY HAVE A PROGRAM CALLED "EMC SQUARE." I'VE LOOKED AT THAT. I'VE BEEN UP THERE. THEY'VE BEEN IN MY OFFICE TO PRESENT HOW THEY'RE GOING IN AND GETTING KIDS IN HIGH SCHOOL TO GO THROUGH THIS TRAINING PROGRAM, APPRENTICESHIP. WE DON'T NEED TO ESTABLISH A BUNCH OF NEW PROGRAMS. WE NEED TO REPLICATE WHAT WORKS. AS MUCH AS THE GOVERNOR WANTS TO HOPEFULLY BRING SOME OF THOSE THINGS TOGETHER INTO THESE CLUSTER AREAS, I THINK WE'RE GOING TO HAVE A SIGNIFICANT INTEREST.

Glover: WHAT ARE THE FLASHPOINTS? WHAT ARE THE DISAGREEMENTS?

Siegrist: WELL, THE DISAGREEMENTS WILL BE HOW HE DOES THAT IN TERMS OF PUTTING THAT MONEY TOGETHER. LAST YEAR WE HAD A DISAGREEMENT THAT HE WANTED TO CUT OUT SOME MONEY FOR COMMUNITY COLLEGE FUNDING FOR WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT. WE'RE NOT INTERESTED IN THAT. BUT AS MUCH AS WE CAN CONSOLIDATE THOSE THINGS, I THINK THAT'S A GOOD WAY TO GO AND THEN WE CAN REINVEST THAT MONEY.

Yepsen: MR. SPEAKER, WE'VE GOT A FEW SECONDS LEFT. TWO OTHER ISSUES HOT WITH IOWANS -- HIGH AIRLINE FARES AND PROMOTING USE OF ETHANOL. IS THERE ANYTHING MORE THIS LEGISLATURE CAN DO ABOUT EITHER ONE OF THOSE?

 

Siegrist: WELL, THE STATE IS BEING ASKED FOR A LOAN FOR ACCESS AIR THAT WOULD BE GUARANTEED. THAT'S SOMETHING THAT WE WOULD CONSIDER. ETHANOL, THE MARKET SHARE HAS GONE UP FROM 42 PERCENT TO OVER 50 PERCENT, SO WE WILL BE LOOKING, PERHAPS, AT SOME INCENTIVE PROGRAMS FOR ETHANOL TO CONTINUE THE MARKET SHARE --

Glover: THIS IS THE SESSION THAT DOES REAPPORTIONMENT. CAN YOU DO REAPPORTIONMENT IN THE REGULAR SESSION, OR DO YOU HAVE TO COME BACK AND DO REAPPORTIONMENT IN A SPECIAL SESSION? AND WILL THAT BE A HOTLY FOUGHT PARTISANSHIP?

 

Siegrist: HARD TO SAY. IF WE CAN GET OUR CENSUS FIGURES IN EARLY, I THINK WE CAN DO IT IN REGULAR SESSION. WE DO IT IN A NONPARTISAN WAY, I'M HOPEFUL THE FIRST PLAN WILL BE PASSED AND WITHOUT ANY PARTISAN RANCOR.

Glover: AND THE LAW WHICH CURRENTLY EXISTS WHICH GOVERNS THE WAY REAPPORTIONMENT IS DONE WILL BE WHAT YOU'LL FOLLOW?

Siegrist: YES.

Yepsen: IN THE PAST IOWA HAS BEEN ONE OF THE FIRST STATES TO COMPLETE ITS REAPPORTIONMENT PLAN, BECAUSE THERE ISN'T ANY PARTISAN RANCOR. WHY DO YOU SAY THAT WILL HAPPEN AGAIN?

Siegrist: BECAUSE THE PLAN THAT COMES DOWN TO US WILL BE DONE WITHOUT ANY PARTISAN INPUT, DONE TOTALLY IN A MATHEMATICAL COMPUTER-DRIVEN FORMULA. I'M ASSUMING THAT WHEN IT COMES DOWN, WE'LL LOOK AT IT AND SAY IT HURTS BOTH SIDES SO IT'S PRETTY FAIR. I DON'T KNOW THAT BECAUSE WE DON'T HAVE THAT INPUT, BUT I'M ASSUMING THAT'S WHAT'S GOING TO HAPPEN.

Borg: WE'RE PRECISE ON TIME HERE TOO, JUST AS YOU ARE IN REAPPORTIONMENT, AND WE'RE OUT OF IT.

Siegrist: OKAY.

Borg: THANK YOU, SPEAKER SIEGRIST, FOR BEING OUR GUEST. OUR ON OUR NEXT EDITION OF "IOWA PRESS," THE FOCUS REMAINS ON THE STATEHOUSE. THE SPOTLIGHT SHIFTS, THOUGH, FROM THE HOUSE TO THE SENATE. JOINING US NEXT WEEK, TWO SENATORS WHO LEAD THEIR RESPECTIVE POLITICAL CAUCUSES. IT WILL BE REPUBLICAN MAJORITY LEADER STEWART IVERSON AND DEMOCRATIC MINORITY LEADER MIKE GRONSTAL, HERE TO PROVIDE EARLY-SESSION PERSPECTIVE... NEXT SUNDAY AT NOON AND 7:00. AND WE CLOSE THIS WEEK'S EDITION OF IOWA PRESS AGAIN WITH A PROGRAM REMINDER. ON TUESDAY OF THIS WEEK, A DAY AFTER SPEAKER SIEGRIST GAVELS OPEN THE LEGISLATION SESSION, GOVERNOR TOM VILSACK ADDRESSES A JOINT SESSION OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY. THE ANNUAL CONDITION OF THE STATE ADDRESS... THE GOVERNOR OUTLINING HIS PRIORITIES FOR THE STATE BEFORE IOWA'S 150 ELECTED SENATORS AND REPRESENTATIVES. IOWA PUBLIC TELEVISION AGAIN WILL BE THERE LIVE AT 10 TUESDAY MORNING FROM THE STATE CAPITOL, REBROADCAST AT 6:30 TUESDAY EVENING. I HOPE YOU JOIN US AT EITHER OF THOSE TIMES. NOW, IF YOU CAN'T, THE GOVERNOR'S CONDITION OF THE STATE ADDRESS IS AVAILABLE ON THE WORLDWIDE WEB, AND YOU CAN CLICK IN AT IPTV.ORG. YOU'LL SEE BOTH AUDIO AND VIDEO ON THE WEB OF THE GOVERNOR'S SPEECH. WELL, THAT'S IT FOR THIS WEEK'S EDITION OF IOWA PRESS. I HOPE YOU'LL WATCH NEXT SUNDAY AT THE SAME TIME AND ON TUESDAY AT 10:00 IN THE MORNING OR 6:30 IN THE EVENING FOR THE CONDITION OF THE STATE ADDRESS. UNTIL THEN, I'M DEAN BORG. THANKS FOR JOINING US TODAY. FUNDING FOR IOWA PRESS HAS BEEN PROVIDED BY FRIENDS OF IOWA PUBLIC TELEVISION; AND BY THE IOWA BANKERS ASSOCIATION... FOR PERSONAL, BUSINESS, AND COMMERCIAL NEEDS, IOWA BANKS HELP IOWANS REACH THEIR FINANCIAL GOALS; BY THE ASSOCIATION OF BUSINESS AND INDUSTRY... THE VOICE OF IOWA BUSINESS, REPRESENTING THE INTERESTS OF OVER 1,500 IOWA BUSINESSES EMPLOYING 300,000 IOWANS; AND BY THE ASSOCIATED GENERAL CONTRACTORS OF IOWA... THE PUBLIC'S PARTNER IN BUILDING IOWA'S HIGHWAY, BRIDGE, AND MUNICIPAL UTILITY INFRASTRUCTURE.