Home

Iowa Press Transcripts

Iowa Press Links

 

IOWA PRESS #2826 - Gov. Tom Vilsack
February 25, 2001

Dean Borg: AS IOWA LEGISLATORS PLAN STATE SPENDING, THERE'S SPECULATION ABOUT IF, AND HOW MUCH, THE SOFTENING ECONOMY SHOULD AFFECT SPENDING. GOV. TOM VILSACK PROVIDES ASSESSMENTS ON THIS EDITION OF IOWA PRESS.

Narrator: 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, FEBRUARY 25 EDITION OF IOWA PRESS. HERE IS DEAN BORG.

Borg: UPDATED ECONOMIC PROJECTIONS FROM IOWA'S REVENUE ESTIMATING COUNCIL AREN'T DUE UNTIL MID MARCH. BUT EVEN WITHOUT WAITING FOR THOSE STATISTICS, THERE'S GENERAL AGREEMENT THAT IOWA'S ECONOMY HAS FLATTENED. BUT THAT'S WHERE THE AGREEMENT ENDS AND THE PLANS OF ACTION DIFFER. EARLIER THIS MONTH, LEADERS OF THE REPUBLICAN- CONTROLLED IOWA GENERAL ASSEMBLY WARNED THAT THE CURRENT BUDGET COULD COME IN $160 MILLION SHORT BETWEEN NOW AND END OF THE FISCAL YEAR ON JUNE 30. THOSE REPUBLICAN LEADERS CALLED FOR A $30 MILLION TO $40 MILLION CUT IN CURRENT SPENDING. STATEHOUSE DEMOCRATS QUESTION THE REPUBLICAN ESTIMATES. DEMOCRATS ALSO SAY THE-SKY-IS-FALLING SOLUTIONS ARE MORE PARTISAN THAN FACT. GOV. TOM VILSACK, OF COURSE, IS AN ACTIVE PARTICIPANT BECAUSE LEGISLATIVE PROPOSALS RESTRICTING SPENDING AFFECT HIS PRIORITIES. WITH THAT BACKGROUND, GOVERNOR VILSACK, WELCOME BACK TO IOWA PRESS.

Vilsack: NICE TO BE HERE.

Borg: AND ALSO WITH US HERE AT THE IOWA PRESS TABLE, STATEHOUSE REPORTERS DAVID YEPSEN OF THE DES MOINES REGISTER AND MIKE GLOVER OF THE ASSOCIATED PRESS.

Glover: GOVERNOR, THERE'S A $40 MILLION PACKAGE OF SPENDING CUTS SITTING IN THE LEGISLATURE. IT'S PROBABLY GOING TO PASS IN PRETTY CLOSE TO THE IDENTICAL FORM THAT IT'S IN RIGHT NOW. WHAT IN THAT PACKAGE CAN YOU ACCEPT, AND WHAT CAN YOU NOT LIVE WITH?

Vilsack: MIKE, WE'RE STILL IN THE PROCESS OF ANALYZING THE PACKAGE. IT WAS SENT DOWN TO US LATE YESTERDAY IN ITS AMENDED FORM, AND WE'RE STILL IN THE PROCESS OF LOOKING AT IT. THE FIRST THING WE DETERMINED WAS THAT IT REALLY ISN'T A $40 MILLION PACKAGE; IT'S CLOSER TO $35 MILLION. SOME OF THE ESTIMATES ARE NOT CORRECT. WE ALSO DETERMINED THAT SOME OF THE SAVINGS REALLY WEREN'T WELL THOUGHT OUT. IN THE COMMERCE AREA, FOR EXAMPLE, SAVINGS THAT ARE ATTRIBUTED IN TERMS OF CUTS IN SPENDING WILL REALLY RESULT IN CUTS IN REVENUE, SO IT'S A WASH. SOME CONCERNS ABOUT SOME OF THE PROPOSALS WILL RESULT IN SIGNIFICANT LOSS OF FEDERAL MONIES AND MAYBE EVEN JEOPARDIZE FUTURE FEDERAL FUNDING. WE'RE ALSO CONCERNED ABOUT THE IMPACT ON SERVICES. SO WE'RE IN THE PROCESS OF ANALYZING THESE CUTS. THERE'S PROBABLY SOME QUESTIONS THAT WE'LL HAVE FOR THE LEGISLATORS. THIS DIDN'T GO THROUGH THE NORMAL SUBCOMMITTEE PROCESS. AS A RESULT, WE NEED TO FLUSH OUT SOME OF THE DETAILS.

Glover: DO YOU PLAN AT SOME POINT BEFORE THE LEGISLATURE ACTS ON THIS TO SEND A SIGNAL: "THIS PART OF IT IS NOT ACCEPTABLE; THIS PART OF IT I CAN MAYBE LIVE WITH; THIS PART QUESTIONABLE?" DO YOU PLAN TO LET THEM KNOW IN ADVANCE WHAT PARTS OF IT YOU CAN LIVE WITH?

Vilsack: WELL, CERTAINLY WE WILL GIVE THEM AN INDICATION OF OUR FEELINGS ABOUT THIS. I WILL SAY THAT WHAT WE REALLY ARE INTERESTED IN DOING IS CREATING A MUCH MORE BIPARTISAN APPROACH TO DECISION MAKING, PARTICULARLY AS IT RELATES TO THE '02 BUDGET. THIS IS THE BUDGET THAT PEOPLE REALLY NEED TO BE CONCERNED ABOUT. WE NEED TO SIT DOWN AND WE NEED TO START TALKING ABOUT WHAT THE PARAMETERS WILL BE, WHAT WE EXPECT THE REVENUE ESTIMATING CONFERENCE TO DO IN MARCH, AND HOW THAT'S GOING TO IMPACT THE DECISION-MAKING PROCESS. WHAT I HOPE TO BE ABLE TO DO IS TO IMPRESS UPON LEGISLATIVE LEADERS THAT WE NEED TO SIT DOWN AND NOT ONLY TAKE A LOOK AT WHAT WE NEED TO DO WITH REFERENCE TO '02, BUT AS WE CONSIDER REDUCING SPENDING, WE OUGHT TO ALSO BE LOOKING AT THE RESPONSIBILITIES AND SERVICES THAT GOVERNMENT PROVIDES AND MAYBE WE NEED TO BEGIN SHRINKING, STATUTORILY, SOME OF THOSE RESPONSIBILITIES. SO THIS IS AN OPPORTUNITY. ALTHOUGH IT'S A CHALLENGE, IT'S ALSO AN OPPORTUNITY FOR US TO BETTER DEFINE THE ROLE AND THE SCOPE OF GOVERNMENT.

Yepsen: GOVERNOR, THIS COULD BE CONFUSING FOR PEOPLE. WE'RE TALKING ABOUT TWO DIFFERENT BUDGET YEARS. THE CURRENT BUDGET YEAR THAT WE'RE IN ENDS ON JUNE 30 OF THIS YEAR, 2001, AND THEN THE LEGISLATURE IS ALSO WORKING ON THE BUDGET FOR 2002, AS YOU MENTIONED. THE REPUBLICAN BUDGET PROPOSALS DEAL WITH THE CURRENT YEAR, '01, AND THEY'RE TALKING ABOUT $40 MILLION. THEY SAY REVENUES ARE AT ZERO. IS THERE A CRISIS?

Vilsack: I REALLY DON'T THINK SO. YOU KNOW, MY DEFINITION OF A CRISIS IS A SENIOR CITIZEN NOT BEING ABLE TO PAY THEIR HEATING BILLS AND NOT BEING ABLE TO PAY PRESCRIPTION DRUGS AND HAVING TO CHOOSE BETWEEN FOOD AND HEAT. THAT'S A CRISIS. WHERE WE ARE IN THE STATE WITH REFERENCE TO THE '01 BUDGET, THE BUDGET THAT WE'RE CURRENTLY IN, DAVID, IS THAT WHEN WE DEVELOPED THE BUDGET LAST YEAR, WE BUILT IN A CUSHION OF ABOUT $136 MILLION, WHICH MEANS WE WEREN'T GOING TO APPROPRIATE EVERY DIME OF THE MONEY THAT WE EXPECTED TO RECEIVE. WE THINK THAT THAT CUSHION IS MORE THAN ENOUGH TO BE ABLE TO WITHSTAND ANY REDUCTION IN REVENUES THAT ARE REASONABLE AND EXPECTED. THAT'S IN ADDITION TO THE 400 MILLION PLUS THAT'S SITTING IN THE BANK, IF YOU WILL, AS PART OF OUR CASH RESERVE AND OUR EMERGENCY RESERVE FUND. SO THERE'S NOT A CRISIS AT ALL BUT THERE IS THE NEED FOR US AGAIN TO LOOK AT '02 BECAUSE THE IMPACT OF WHAT'S OCCURRING THIS YEAR WILL DIRECTLY AFFECT NEXT YEAR. IT'S NOT SO MUCH THIS YEAR. IT'S NEXT YEAR THAT WE HAVE TO BE CONCERNED ABOUT.

Yepsen: REPUBLICANS ARE SAYING REVENUES ARE $175 MILLION SHORT AND THAT IMMEDIATELY EATS THROUGH THAT $135 MILLION CUSHION YOU'VE GOT AND LEAVES YOU WITH A $40 MILLION PROBLEM. WHAT DO YOU SAY ABOUT THAT?

Vilsack: THAT'S AN ESTIMATE. THAT'S A GUESS. EVERY SINGLE DAY THE NUMBER CHANGES AND THAT'S WHY I THINK IT'S IMPORTANT AND NECESSARY FOR US TO TAKE A LONGER VIEW. I EXPECT REVENUES TO BE LESS THAN 3.5 PERCENT FOR SURE, BUT I DON'T THINK THAT THEY'RE GOING TO BE SO MUCH LESS THAT THE 136 MILLION ISN'T GOING TO BE ENOUGH TO COVER EXPENSES. THE OTHER PROBLEM WE HAVE IS THAT AS WE LOOK AT THESE BUDGET CUTS, WE'RE CONSIDERING ACTUAL PERSONNEL DECISIONS. IN ORDER TO DO THAT, YOU HAVE TO GIVE A 60-DAY NOTICE. SO MUCH OF WHAT WE'RE TALKING ABOUT IS CONDENSED IN A SHORT PERIOD OF TIME, SO THE IMPACT IS MORE DRACONIAN THAN IF YOU LOOK AT A LONGER PERIOD OF TIME, A 12-MONTH PERIOD OF TIME. THAT'S WHY THERE NEEDS TO BE A THOUGHTFUL, PRUDENT APPROACH. FRANKLY, NOW IS THE TIME FOR BIPARTISANSHIP. NOW IS THE TIME FOR PEOPLE TO SIT DOWN AROUND THE TABLE AND SAY, "WHAT ARE WE GOING TO DO ABOUT '02."

Glover: GOVERNOR, THERE'S SOMETHING IN THE AIR AROUND THE STATEHOUSE. IT'S A CERTAIN SHARPNESS, A CERTAIN HARSHNESS, A CERTAIN HARD EDGE TO ALMOST EVERYTHING THAT GETS SAID. PEOPLE ARE ANGRY. THERE SEEMS TO BE A PARTISAN TINGE TO EVERYTHING. IS THERE SOMETHING YOU CAN DO TO SOLVE THAT, TO EASE THAT?

Vilsack: I THINK THERE IS AND I STARTED DOING THAT YESTERDAY. I HAD MEETINGS WITH SOME OF THE KEY SENATE AND REPUBLICAN LEADERS, AND I TRIED TO CONVEY TO THEM A SENSE THAT THE ELECTION OF 2000 IS OVER, THE ELECTION OF 2002 IS FAR ENOUGH AWAY THAT WE REALLY NEED TO BE FOCUSING ON THE JOB TODAY, AND I THINK THAT THERE WAS A RECEPTION TO THAT MESSAGE. THAT'S WHY I THINK WE CAN FOCUS IN A BIPARTISAN WAY ON '02. I THINK THIS IS REALLY -- ALTHOUGH IT'S GOING TO BE CHALLENGING, IT'S AN EXTRAORDINARY OPPORTUNITY FOR US TO REALLY LOOK AT WHAT WE EXPECT GOVERNMENT TO DO. SO WE SHOULD LOOK AT THIS AS AN OPPORTUNITY AND NOT NECESSARILY A CHALLENGE. I'M AFRAID THAT THE WAY IN WHICH THIS HAS STARTED WITH SORT OF A PANIC ABOUT IT, PROBABLY HASN'T CONVEYED THE RIGHT MESSAGE. I THINK WE NEED TO TAKE A STEP BACK AND BE A LITTLE BIT MORE THOUGHTFUL AND A LITTLE MORE PRUDENT IN HOW WE APPROACH THIS.

Glover: HAS THE GOVERNOR'S ELECTION OF 2002 STARTED? IS THAT WHAT'S GOING ON HERE? Vilsack: NOT AS FAR AS I'M CONCERNED. I HAVEN'T MADE A DECISION ONE WAY OR THE OTHER ABOUT MY FUTURE. I CAN TELL YOU, MY FOCUS IS ON WHAT WE'RE DOING TODAY. I ALWAYS WANT TO FOCUS ON TODAY. WE'LL LET TOMORROW TAKE CARE OF ITSELF.

Glover: AND WHEN THE REPUBLICAN PACKAGE AND BUDGET CUTS WAS RELEASED, YOUR RESPONSE WAS FAIRLY MUTED. WAS THAT DELIBERATE?

Vilsack: WELL, IT'S OUT OF RESPECT TO THE SYSTEM. AS I EXPLAINED TO THE REPUBLICAN LEADERS YESTERDAY, THIS IS A PARTNERSHIP. THIS IS NOT A SITUATION WHERE, ONE, THE LEGISLATURE OR THE GOVERNOR CAN DICTATE TO THE OTHER. THIS IS A PARTNERSHIP AND THERE NEEDS TO BE A MEETING OF THE MINDS. TO DO THAT YOU ACTUALLY HAVE TO HAVE DISCUSSIONS AND CONVERSATIONS. AND FRANKLY, YOU CAN'T TAKE POSITIONS WHERE LINES ARE DRAWN IN THE SAND EARLY IN THE PROCESS. WE'VE TRIED NOT TO DO THAT BECAUSE WE THINK THAT'S WHAT LEADERSHIP IS ABOUT. IT'S ABOUT BRINGING PEOPLE TOGETHER AND GETTING DECISIONS MADE. EVENTUALLY THIS WILL WORK ITSELF OUT.

Yepsen: GOVERNOR, IS THIS ALL A POLITICAL DEAL ON THE PART OF REPUBLICANS? I MEAN, IF YOU DON'T THINK THERE'S A CRISIS HERE, THEN ARE THEY JUST TRYING TO SOFTEN YOU UP FOR 2002?

Vilsack: I THINK THERE IS A CONCERN. AND ONE OF THE THINGS THAT I EXPRESSED WAS MY CONCERN THAT WHAT THIS IS ABOUT IS ESSENTIALLY BUILDING AN ENDING BALANCE IN '01 THAT ESSENTIALLY COULD JUSTIFY FURTHER DISCUSSIONS OF TAX CUTS. FORTY-SIX TAX CUTS, $800 MILLION TO $900 MILLION OF IMPACT ON THE BUDGET ANNUALLY. I THINK IT'S NOW TIME TO TAKE A BREATHER. WHAT I HOPE IS THAT WE'RE NOT GOING THROUGH THIS EXERCISE SIMPLY TO JUSTIFY DISCUSSIONS OF FURTHER TAX CUTS.

Yepsen: ONE THING THAT MIKE TALKS ABOUT IN THE ELECTION OF 2002, A LOT OF REPUBLICANS ARE STILL SORE ABOUT THE LEGISLATIVE ELECTIONS LAST TIME. YOU WERE A GOOD DEMOCRAT OUT CAMPAIGNING HARD, GOING AT THEM HARD. DO YOU REGRET THAT NOW? NOW THAT WE HAVE THIS INCREDIBLY PARTISAN ATMOSPHERE AT THE STATEHOUSE, DID YOU OVERDO IT?

Vilsack: I DON'T BELIEVE I DID. I CAMPAIGNED FOR DEMOCRATS. I DIDN'T REALLY CAMPAIGN AGAINST ANYONE. I CAMPAIGNED FOR DEMOCRATS AND I WOULD SUGGEST TO YOU THAT THERE WAS NO MORE OR LESS PARTISANSHIP DURING PREVIOUS GOVERNOR'S ADMINISTRATIONS. AS I SAID, THE KEY TO THIS IS UNDERSTANDING THAT ELECTIONS ARE ABOUT DRAWING SHARP PARTISAN DIFFERENCES AND LETTING PEOPLE CHOOSE. THE PEOPLE CHOSE IN NOVEMBER. ONCE THAT CHOICE IS MADE, NOW IT'S TIME TO GET ON TO GOVERNING. THAT REQUIRES THE PARTNERSHIP, REQUIRES THE BIPARTISAN APPROACH. AND I THINK WE'RE READY FOR THAT IN THIS STATE.

Borg: GOVERNOR VILSACK, I'D LIKE TO DRAW YOU NOW INTO SOME SPECIFICS ON COMMENTS HERE, BUT I GO BACK TO SOME OF THE THINGS THAT YOU'VE SAID PHILOSOPHICALLY HERE. YOU QUESTION WHETHER OR NOT THERE IS A CRISIS AND YOU SAY MAYBE IT'S TIME TO REDEFINE SOME OF THE THINGS THAT GOVERNMENT DOES FOR THE PEOPLE. BUT AS IT RELATES SPECIFICALLY TO PUBLIC SAFETY, THERE IS GENERAL AGREEMENT OF BOTH PARTIES AT THE DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN SERVICES HAD A BIG JOB TO DO IN CHILD PROTECTION BEFORE THE SESSION BEGAN. NOW THERE'S INDICATION THAT THEY'RE NOT GOING TO GET ALL OF THE MONEY THAT WAS THOUGHT TO BE NEEDED THERE. ON FRIDAY OF THIS WEEK, THERE WAS A PUBLISHED REPORT THAT STATE TROOPERS' NUMBERS MAY BE IN JEOPARDY. THERE MAY BE LAYOFFS THERE. IS THERE A QUESTION OF PUBLIC SAFETY? Vilsack: WELL, THAT'S WHAT WE HAVE TO LOOK AT. CLEARLY, THE NUMBERS ON THE PUBLIC SAFETY SIDE NEED TO BE EXPLAINED. AGAIN, IT GOES BACK TO AN EARLIER COMMENT THAT I MADE TO DAVID, DEAN. WHEN YOU FOCUS ON BUDGET CUTS THIS LATE IN THE FISCAL YEAR, MOST OF YOUR SUPPLIES HAVE BEEN PURCHASED. MOST OF THE ANCILLARY EXPENSES HAVE ALREADY BEEN OCCURRED, SO WHAT IS LEFT IS REALLY PERSONNEL COSTS. WHEN YOU TAKE A LOOK AT BUDGET CUTS THAT ARE DEFINED NUMERICALLY, SO MANY DOLLARS IN BUDGET CUTS AND GIVEN THE 60-DAY NOTICE REQUIREMENT, YOU HAVE TO CONDENSE ALL OF THOSE BUDGET CUTS IN A SHORT PERIOD OF TIME, WHICH MEANS YOU HAVE TO ESSENTIALLY LAY OFF A LOT OF PEOPLE. I DON'T NECESSARILY THINK THAT'S THE PRUDENT APPROACH, ESPECIALLY SINCE WE HAVE $136 MILLION CUSHION. I THINK THERE'S MORE THAN ENOUGH TO PAY THE BILLS IN '01. WHAT WE SHOULD BE DOING, IN MY VIEW, IS SPENDING MOST OF OUR TIME AND ENERGY FOCUSING ON '02, GIVING DIRECTORS, GIVING INTEREST GROUPS ENOUGH LEAD TIME TO EXPLAIN AND UNDERSTAND THAT THINGS MIGHT BE A LITTLE BIT TIGHT NEXT YEAR, AND THEN GIVING US AN OPPORTUNITY TO TAKE A LOOK AT WHAT SPECIFIC STATUTORY RESPONSIBILITIES WE HAVE AND WHICH OF THOSE WE ARE WILLING TO BASICALLY SAY WE NO LONGER EXPECT GOVERNMENT TO PROVIDE.

Borg: SPECIFICALLY, WOULD YOU RESIST A LAYOFF OF STATE TROOPERS?

Vilsack: I'M NOT INCLINED TO BE SUPPORTIVE OF THAT. I'M NOT INCLINED TO BE SUPPORTIVE OF ANY PROPOSAL THAT WILL PUT THE PEOPLE AT RISK, AND I THINK THAT THERE MAY VERY WELL BE SEVERAL ITEMS IN THIS PACKAGE. THE STATE TROOPERS IS ONE. THE ISSUE OF COMMUNITY-BASED CORRECTIONS IS ANOTHER. THE REDUCTION IN THE SEX OFFENDER PROGRAM IS A THIRD. THESE ARE ALL THINGS THAT I THINK WE REALLY NEED TO TAKE A LONG, HARD LOOK AT.

Yepsen: IF THAT'S TRUE, WHY CAN'T YOU REALLOCATE STAFF? WHY CAN'T YOU GET SOME OF THE BRASS AND THE HIGHWAY PATROL OUT FROM BEHIND THEIR DESKS IN DES MOINES AND PUT THEM OUT ON THE HIGHWAY WRITING TICKETS LIKE OTHER TROOPERS? THE SAME WITH HUMAN SERVICES. YOU HEAR THIS: "LET'S REALLOCATE STAFF; LET'S GET IT OUT THERE IN THE TRENCHES."

Vilsack: THE PROBLEM IS THAT THINGS ARE ALREADY PRETTY TIGHT. WE'VE HAD THESE BUDGETS THIS YEAR HAVE TO ABSORB HIGHER ENERGY COSTS. CERTAINLY THE HIGHWAY PATROL HAS HAD TO PAY MORE FOR ITS GAS. WE'VE ALSO HAD THESE DEPARTMENTS HAVE TO ENCOURAGE -- OR PAY A SIGNIFICANT INCREASE IN HEALTH CARE COSTS, AND THAT HAS BEEN ABSORBED BY REDUCING THE NUMBER OF PERSONNEL, MAYBE NOT FILLING ALL OF THE VACANCIES; SO TO A CERTAIN EXTENT, REALLOCATIONS HAVE ALREADY TAKEN PLACE IN ORDER TO PAY THE COSTS OF DOING BUSINESS. WHEN YOU START TAKING SUPERVISORS OFF, YOU ESSENTIALLY IMPACT AND AFFECT THE OVERALL PROGRAM. CERTAINLY THAT'S TRUE IN HUMAN SERVICES. WE CAN'T ASSUME THAT SIMPLY BY TAKING A SUPERVISOR OUT OF THE OFFICE AND PUTTING HIM IN THE FIELD THAT THAT'S GOING TO RESULT IN BETTER PROTECTION. THERE HAS TO BE A WATCHFUL EYE OVER THE FIELD OPERATION. IF YOU DON'T HAVE THE WATCHFUL EYE, THEN MISTAKES ARE MADE. Glover: ONE OF THE THINGS THAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU DO A BUDGET IS YOU SEND SIGNALS. WHEN YOU PROPOSED YOUR BUDGET, YOU PROPOSED A MODEST INCREASE FOR THE STATE'S REGENTS INSTITUTIONS. THIS BUDGET CUT PROPOSAL WOULD CUT $9 MILLION OUT OF THE REGENTS INSTITUTION. IS THE MESSAGE THAT'S BEING SENT TO PARENTS GETTING READY TO SEND THEIR KIDS TO PUBLIC COLLEGES, "YOU NEED TO PAY MORE TUITION"?

Vilsack: WELL, I'M CERTAINLY NOT INCLINED TO SUGGEST TODAY THAT I'M SUPPORTIVE OF THE CUT THAT HAS BEEN PROPOSED ON THE REGENTS SIDE AT THIS LATE DATE. AGAIN, WHAT YOU'RE DOING IS YOU'RE ESSENTIALLY ASKING THE REGENTS TO ABSORB SOMETHING IN THE MIDDLE OF THEIR BUDGET OR AT THE END OF THEIR BUDGET, WHICH MAY BE DIFFICULT TO DO. HAVING SAID THAT, I THINK AS WE LOOK LONG-TERM, THE COST OF HIGHER EDUCATION CLEARLY HAS TO BE AN ISSUE. AS WE'VE TALKED BEFORE, FOLKS IN HIGHER EDUCATION ARE A LITTLE CONCERNED ABOUT THESE NUMBERS, BUT THE REALITY IS THAT THERE IS STILL A SIGNIFICANT AMOUNT OF STATE RESOURCE THAT'S USED FOR HIGHER EDUCATION, AND IT SHOULD BE. IT'S VERY IMPORTANT. BUT WE ALSO HAVE NEEDS IN THE K-12 SYSTEM. THE COMMUNITY COLLEGE FOLKS WILL TELL YOU THAT THEY ARE NOT ADEQUATELY FUNDED, AND REALLY THE FOLKS WHO DEAL WITH EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION WOULD SUGGEST TO YOU THAT MORE MONEY IS NEEDED THERE AS WELL. I THINK THAT THERE'S GOING TO HAVE TO BE A LOOK AT THIS. HAVING SAID THAT, WE ALSO HAVE TO REMIND PARENTS THAT THERE HAVE BEEN A SERIES OF TAX CREDITS, A SERIES OF STUDENT LOAN PROGRAMS THAT HAVE BEEN CREATED RECENTLY THAT WILL HELP TAKE THE STING OUT OF ANY TUITION INCREASES THAT MIGHT OCCUR.

Yepsen: GOVERNOR, A LOT OF TALK ABOUT RAISING TEACHER PAY. THE REPUBLICANS SAY THEIR BUDGET CUTS HOLD K-12 HARMLESS. IS THAT YOUR UNDERSTANDING OF WHAT THIS PROPOSAL DOES TO IOWA TEACHERS WHO ARE ANTICIPATING $40 MILLION WORTH OF PAY RAISES AND A NEW COMPENSATION PLAN? DO THEY HAVE ANYTHING TO WORRY ABOUT?

Vilsack: WELL, THE BUDGET CUTS THAT YOU'RE REFERRING TO ARE '01 BUDGET CUTS, AND IT'S ABSOLUTELY CORRECT THAT THERE IS NO SPECIFIC PROPOSAL TO REDUCE THE LEVEL OF SUPPORT FOR THE K-12 SYSTEM IN '01. I BELIEVE REPUBLICAN LEADERS WHEN THEY TELL ME THAT THEY ARE ADAMANT AND COMMITTED TO PUTTING $40 MILLION INTO THE TEACHER COMPENSATION PACKAGE. WE HAVE YET TO SEE THEIR BUDGET TARGETS. WE HAVE YET TO SEE THEIR BUDGETS, SO WE DON'T KNOW WHETHER IT'S GOING TO COME AT THE EXPENSE OF ANY OTHER ASPECT OF THE K-12 SYSTEM OR ANY OTHER ASPECT OF THE EDUCATION SYSTEM. THERE WAS SOME TALK ABOUT THE FACT THAT IT MAY COME OUT OF THE EDUCATION BUDGET TARGET, IN WHICH CASE YOU MAY BE PITTING SCHOOLS AGAINST TEACHERS. Yepsen: WHERE DOES THIS WHOLE TEACHER PAY PLAN STAND? THERE'S A LOT OF TALK. IS IT STILL BEING WORKED ON UP THERE?

Vilsack: IT IS AND IT'S THE ONE EXAMPLE OF HOW THE SYSTEM WORKS WELL. I'M REALLY PLEASED WITH THE FACT THAT LEGISLATIVE LEADERS HAVE STILL INDICATED A DESIRE TO MOVE FORWARD LEGISLATION, PERHAPS AS EARLY AS NEXT WEEK, THAT WOULD SET ASIDE THE $40 MILLION. I'M VERY PLEASED THAT THERE'S A BIPARTISAN GROUP OF LEGISLATORS WORKING AND HAVE BEEN WORKING FOR THE LAST SIX WEEKS WITH PEOPLE FROM MY OFFICE AND THE DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION TO DEVELOP THE FRAMEWORK. BUSINESS LEADERS ARE STILL ENGAGED AND INVOLVED IN THOSE CONVERSATIONS, MARVIN POMERANTZ IN PARTICULAR. SO I THINK THE PROCESS IS MOVING FORWARD. IT'S COMPLEX, IT'S DIFFICULT, BUT THERE IS A COMMITMENT AND A WILLINGNESS TO WORK TOGETHER, WHICH IS REALLY WHEN THE SYSTEM WORKS BEST.

Glover: GOVERNOR, THE REPUBLICANS RUNNING THE LEGISLATURE SAY THEY WANT TO WORK THROUGH THIS BUDGET MESS, IF YOU WILL, DEAL WITH SPENDING CUTS AND ALL THAT, AND THEN GO BACK TO TAX CUTS AND COME UP WITH SOME MORE TAX CUTS TO SEND YOU. YOU'VE SAID WE DON'T HAVE ROOM FOR TAX CUTS, SO FORTH AND SO ON. THE AVERAGE IOWAN, I THINK, GETS A LITTLE BIT CONFUSED BECAUSE WE SEEM TO BE ROCKING BACK AND FORTH BETWEEN TALKING ABOUT NOT HAVING ANY MONEY IN THE TREASURY AND THEN TALKING ABOUT WHICH TAXES TO CUT. IS THIS ALL POLITICAL?

Vilsack: WELL, I CAN TELL YOU, IF THE AVERAGE IOWAN IS CONFUSED, I JOIN THEM. I'M DEFINITELY CONFUSED. TWO WEEKS AGO, WE SIGNED ONE OF THE LARGEST TAX CUTS IN THE HISTORY OF THE STATE, PROBABLY ONE OF THE MOST PROGRESSIVE TAX CUTS WE'VE HAD IN THE 46 WE'VE CUT IN THE LAST FIVE OR SIX YEARS. I REALLY FEEL AT THIS POINT IN TIME WE HAVE TO REALLY BE CAREFUL IN MAKING ANY FURTHER COMMITMENTS. I THINK WE HAVE A LOT OF WORK TO DO IN TERMS OF DEFINING THE SCOPE OF GOVERNMENT AND THE SERVICES WE EXPECT GOVERNMENT TO PROVIDE BEFORE WE BEGIN LOOKING AT ADDITIONAL TAX REDUCTIONS. I DON'T THINK, FRANKLY, THERE WAS AN EXPECTATION ON THE PART OF MANY LEGISLATORS THAT UTILITY TAX CUT WOULD BE SIGNED. I THINK WHAT THEY WERE HOPING WAS THAT I WOULD VETO THAT BILL AND THEN THEY WOULD BE ABLE TO SAY HE VETOED THAT BILL AND THEN THEY'D SEND DOWN ANOTHER TAX CUT PROPOSAL. THIS BILL HAD CERTAIN POSITIVES TO IT THAT I THINK WERE GOOD FOR THE STATE, AND SO I SIGNED IT. BUT I THINK WE'VE GONE ABOUT AS FAR AS WE NEED TO GO.

Glover: DID YOU EVER HAVE ANY DOUBTS ABOUT SIGNING IT?

Vilsack: NO.

Yepsen: GOVERNOR, NOBODY IS TALKING ABOUT CUTTING TAXES IN THE 2001 BUDGET. ALL THE TAX CUTS BEING SUGGESTED ARE FOR FUTURE YEARS. WHAT REPUBLICANS SAY IS THAT YOU NEED SOME OF THESE TO MAKE THE PIE GROW, TO MAKE THE ECONOMY GROW, VENTURE CAPITAL INCENTIVES TO GROW THE ECONOMY. YOU'RE SAYING THAT NONE OF THOSE -- YOU'RE NOT OPEN TO ANY OF THOSE IN FUTURE YEARS?

Vilsack: I THINK THE PRINCIPAL FOCUS HAS BEEN ON THE SOCIAL SECURITY TAX, WHICH IS REALLY A TARGETED TAX CUT FOR THE WEALTHIEST RETIREES IN THE STATE. THAT'S REALLY WHERE THE FOCUS IS AND I DON'T KNOW THAT THAT'S NECESSARILY GOING TO GROW THE PIE. THAT ARGUMENT IS A LITTLE DIFFICULT TO ACCEPT AT THIS POINT. WE'VE CUT $800 MILLION DOLLARS OF TAX, AND NOW WE'RE DEALING WITH A FLAT BUDGET, SO, I THINK IT'S HARD TO MAKE THAT ARGUMENT AT THIS POINT IN TIME. WHEN YOU TALK ABOUT FUTURE YEARS, THERE ARE A LOT OF THINGS THAT COULD HAPPEN IN FUTURE YEARS THAT COULD MAKE IT NECESSARY, APPROPRIATE OR REASONABLE TO TAKE A LOOK AT A BROAD RANGE OF THINGS. RIGHT NOW, THE FOCUS NEEDS TO BE ON '02, THE FOCUS NEEDS TO BE ON DEFINING EXACTLY WHAT WE'RE GOING TO DO AND WHAT MESSAGES WE'RE GOING TO SEND WITH THIS BUDGET, AND WE NEED TO BEGIN WORK ON IT BECAUSE THIS IS NOT GOING TO BE EASY. Yepsen: ANOTHER ISSUE UP THERE, GOVERNOR, IS WHAT TO DO WITH THE IOWA COMMUNICATIONS NETWORK, THE ICN, THE FIBER-OPTIC NETWORK. SOME MEMBERS WANT TO SHUT IT DOWN. SOME WANT TO TRY TO SELL IT. WHERE DO YOU COME DOWN? WHAT SHOULD WE DO WITH THAT?

Vilsack: WELL, FIRST OF ALL, I THINK WE NEED A VERY DEFINED MISSION AND ROLE FOR THE ICN. I THINK THAT'S SOMETHING THAT'S BEEN MISSING IN THE 15 YEARS THAT WE'VE HAD THIS COMMUNICATIONS NETWORK. I BELIEVE THAT WE OUGHT TO BE FOCUSED ON REALLY PROMOTING DISTANCE LEARNING A LOT MORE THAN WE HAVE. I THINK WE, FRANKLY, OUGHT TO BE INVITING THE PRIVATE SECTOR TO PERHAPS COMPETE FOR OUR BUSINESS ON THE LONG DISTANCE SIDE SO THAT WE MAKE SURE THAT THE STATE IS USING ITS TAX MONEY IN AS EFFECTIVE AND EFFICIENT WAY AS POSSIBLE. I THINK A LOT OF PEOPLE DON'T UNDERSTAND WHAT'S HAPPENING WITH THE ICN AND SOME OF THE EXCITING ACTIVITIES THAT ARE OCCURRING. MOST PEOPLE DO NOT UNDERSTAND THIS, BUT THE NATIONAL GUARD'S MISSION -- THE NATIONAL MISSION HAS BEEN CHANGED FOR THE FIRST TIME SINCE IN, PERHAPS, EVER. IT REALLY HAS. THIS IS A PHENOMENAL THING. OUR NATIONAL GUARD IN IOWA HAS CONVINCED THE FOLKS IN WASHINGTON, D.C., TO ADD A THIRD RESPONSIBILITY TO THE NATIONAL GUARD. IN THE PAST IT'S BEEN THE FEDERAL MISSION OF THE NO-FLY ZONES OVER IRAQ AND SO FORTH. THE STATE MISSIONS TAKING CARE OF TORNADOES AND THE LIKE. NOW THERE'S A RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT COMPONENT, AND IT'S CENTERED RIGHT HERE IN IOWA. IT'S A RESULT OF OUR ICN AND A RESULT OF OUR TALENTED GUARDS PEOPLE. AND THE FIRST INDICATION OF SUCCESS IS $23 MILLION BEING PAID TO A COMPANY THAT'S BEEN ESTABLISHED HERE TO CREATE A RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT COMPONENT FOR OUR NATIONAL GUARD. EXTRAORDINARY. WE WOULD NEVER HAVE THAT IF WE DIDN'T HAVE THE ICN.

Yepsen: WELL, GOVERNOR, IF THAT'S A NEAT DEAL, THEN WHY DOESN'T THE PENTAGON PAY FOR IT? DON'T THEY HAVE MORE MONEY THAN YOU HAVE?

Vilsack: THEY ARE. WE'RE NOT PAYING -- THIS ISN'T $23 MILLION FOR THE --

Yepsen: WELL, THEN WHY ARE WE BEING ASKED AS A STATE TO ANTE UP MONEY FOR THE ICN?

Vilsack: WELL, THE $23 MILLION IS CREATING OPPORTUNITIES TO BRING HIGH-TECH JOBS TO THE STATE AND IT'S CREATING A WHOLE NEW WAY OF USING THE ICN. WE HAVE TO PAY FOR THE ICN BECAUSE WE'VE MADE THE DECISION TO SUBSIDIZE THE EDUCATIONAL USE. WE'RE NOT CHARGING THE SCHOOLS ANYWHERE NEAR WHAT THE ACTUAL COST OF THE ICN IS. IF WE WERE OPERATING IT AS A BUSINESS, SCHOOLS WOULD PROBABLY NOT BE ABLE TO AFFORD TO USE IT, SO NATURALLY WE'RE GOING TO HAVE TO PUT RESOURCES INTO THE ICN IF WE'RE GOING TO SUBSIDIZE EDUCATIONAL USE. I THINK THAT'S AN APPROPRIATE USE OF TAXPAYERS' MONEY.

Glover: THERE'S BEEN ANOTHER PROPOSAL DEALING WITH HUMAN-SERVICE TYPE PROGRAMS TO TAKE SOME MONEY, $10 MILLION HAS BEEN SUGGESTED, AND EARMARK IT FOR FAITH-BASED INSTITUTIONS WHICH PROVIDE SOCIAL SERVICES, HUMAN SERVICES, ALL KINDS OF PROGRAMS. WHAT'S YOUR VIEW ON STARTING TO USE TAX MONEY FOR FAITH-BASED ORGANIZATIONS TO PROVIDE SERVICES?

Vilsack: WELL, WE'RE ALREADY DOING THAT TO A CERTAIN EXTENT. CATHOLIC SERVICES, LUTHERAN SOCIAL SERVICES ARE ALREADY INVOLVED IN THIS PROCESS. I THINK THAT $10 MILLION PROPOSAL IS A BIT MORE SPECIFIC THAN YOUR QUESTION WOULD SUGGEST. I THINK IT'S REALLY DESIGNED TO ESTABLISH A MARRIAGE COUNSELING PROGRAM. WE HAVE A SERIES OF QUESTIONS -- UNANSWERED QUESTIONS ABOUT THAT PROPOSAL, AS IT RELATES TO HOW YOU ESTABLISH THE QUALIFICATIONS OF THE CERTIFICATION PROCESS TO DETERMINE WHO'S CAPABLE AND QUALIFIED TO GIVE MARRIAGE COUNSELING -- HOW DO YOU ESTABLISH ACCOUNTABILITY STANDARDS? HOW DO YOU DETERMINE WHAT RESULTS YOU'RE WORKING LOOKING FOR AND HOW YOU GAUGE THOSE RESULTS? AND IF THERE'S A PROBLEM WITH A MISMANAGEMENT OF THE FUNDS, WHAT IS THE REPERCUSSION? WHAT IS THE REMEDY THAT THE STATE WOULD HAVE? YOU HAVE THOSE QUESTIONS ANSWERED VERY EASILY WITH PRIVATE-SECTOR SERVICE PROVIDERS, LESS SO WITH FAITH-BASED ORGANIZATIONS. I THINK WE OUGHT TO HAVE ANSWERS TO THOSE QUESTIONS TO FULLY EVALUATE. ONE LAST THING I WOULD SAY, MIKE, IN CONNECTION WITH THE QUESTION: I'M A LITTLE CONCERNED ABOUT THE PROPOSAL AS IT RELATES TO THE HUMAN SERVICES BUDGET BECAUSE THE QUESTION NEEDS TO BE ASKED: IS THIS 10 MILLION NEW DOLLARS? IF SO, WHERE IS IT GOING TO COME FROM? IF IT'S $10 MILLION OF REALLOCATED DOLLARS, WHO ARE WE TAKING IT AWAY FROM AND HOW DO WE KNOW THAT WE'RE GOING TO HAVE A BETTER DEAL WITH FAITH-BASED ORGANIZATIONS' MARRIAGE COUNSELING THAN WHEREVER THE $10 MILLION IS BEING TAKEN FROM?

Glover: IN GENERAL TERMS, SHOULD THE GOVERNMENT RATCHET UP ITS PARTICIPATION IN THESE TYPES OF PROGRAMS? DO WE NEED TO GO MORE DOWN THAT PATH?

Vilsack: I THINK THAT THE GOVERNMENT NEEDS TO UNDERSTAND THAT THERE ARE A LOT OF PROBLEMS OUT THERE AND GOVERNMENT CAN'T SOLVE THEM ALL. TO THE EXTENT THAT WE HAVE ALLIES IN FAITH-BASED ORGANIZATIONS, WE OUGHT TO AT LEAST LOOK AT WORKING WITH THEM IN PARTNERSHIP AS WE HAVE IN THE PAST. BUT TO DO SO, YOU NEED FRAMEWORK, YOU NEED STRUCTURE, AND THOSE ARE THE QUESTIONS THAT HAVE NOT YET BEEN ANSWERED.

Yepsen: GOVERNOR, ANOTHER POPULAR PROGRAM THAT THE LAST LEGISLATURE STARTED WAS THE "VISION IOWA" PROGRAM. IT'S JUST GETTING STARTED. DO YOU SEE ANY OF THIS BUDGET CUTTING, BUDGET ADJUSTMENT TALK THAT'S GOING ON FOR THIS YEAR OR NEXT AFFECTING THE VISION IOWA PROGRAM?

Vilsack: I DON'T SEE IT AFFECTING THE "VISION IOWA" PROGRAM, BUT I REALLY DO THINK THAT WE NEED TO HAVE AT LEAST A CONVERSATION AND DISCUSSION AS WE LOOK AT '02 ABOUT THE PROPER BALANCE BETWEEN THE INFRASTRUCTURE FUND AND THE GENERAL FUND. AS YOU KNOW, WHEN THE INFRASTRUCTURE FUND WAS SET UP, IT ESSENTIALLY HAD THE SAME AMOUNT OF MONEY IN IT THAT WE PUT IN THE GENERAL FUND FROM GAMING REVENUES. IT'S ABOUT $60 MILLION OF GENERAL FUNDS, $60 MILLION IN INFRASTRUCTURE. WE CAPPED THE GENERAL FUND AMOUNT AND WE ALLOWED THE INFRASTRUCTURE FUND TO RAISE, SO NOW IT'S NO LONGER 50-50. I THINK AS WE LOOK AT BUDGET PRIORITIES, WE HAVE TO ASK OURSELVES WHETHER BRICKS AND MORTAR ARE MORE IMPORTANT THAN TEACHER SALARIES. ARE BRICKS AND MORTAR MORE IMPORTANT THAN HUMAN SERVICES AND CHILDREN PROTECTION? WE AT LEAST OUGHT TO PUT THAT ON THE TABLE.

Yepsen: YOU'VE GOT A LOT OF CRUMBLING BUILDINGS AROUND THE STATE.

Vilsack: NO QUESTION ABOUT IT. BUT THAT'S ALL PART OF MAKING CHOICES. THE CRUMBLING BUILDINGS, WE ARE ADDRESSING IN A VERY SYSTEMIC WAY. I THINK WE CAN STILL ADDRESS IT IN A SYSTEMIC WAY. THERE'S STILL ADDITIONAL RESOURCES. THE QUESTION IS: WHAT'S THE PROPER ALLOCATION? Borg: YOU'VE SUGGESTED EXPANDING IOWA'S WORKFORCE FOR ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT REASONS BY ATTRACTING PEOPLE TO IOWA, OTHER ETHNIC GROUPS, TOO. THAT'S RECEIVED, TO PUT IT MILDLY, SOME LUKEWARM RECEPTION AMONG GRASS ROOTS AND LABOR UNIONS IN IOWA. ARE YOU GOING BACK AWAY FROM THAT?

Vilsack: I THINK PEOPLE HAVE TO UNDERSTAND, DEAN, WHAT WE'RE DEALING WITH. IN 1981 OUR STATE'S POPULATION WAS 2,913,000 PEOPLE. IN 2001, AFTER THE STATE OF IOWA WAS THE BEST STATE FOR COUNTING PEOPLE IN THE RECENT CENSUS, OUR POPULATION GREW TO 2,926,000 PEOPLE. 13,000 PEOPLE IN 20 YEARS. WE HAD VIRTUALLY NO GROWTH, SO WE HAVE AGED AS A POPULATION. WE'RE FACED WITH 368,000 IOWANS THAT ARE GOING TO RETIRE IN THE NEXT 10 YEARS. AT OUR CURRENT RATE OF GROWTH, WE'LL ONLY BE ABLE TO REPLACE 114,000 OF THOSE FOLKS, WHICH MEANS IT'S GOING TO BE DIFFICULT TO ATTRACT BUSINESS, TO HAVE BUSINESSES EXPAND, AND TO KEEP BUSINESSES. WE NEED TO KEEP OUR YOUNG PEOPLE HERE. WE NEED TO ATTRACT FORMER IOWANS BACK, AND WE NEED TO BE WELCOMING TO NEW IOWANS. WE HAVE DEVISED A PROGRAM AND A STRATEGY FOR AN INCREASE IN THE COMFORT LEVEL THAT IOWANS HAVE WITH THIS WHOLE CONCEPT BY ASKING THREE COMMUNITIES TO REALLY DO A HARD, LONG, SERIOUS LOOK AT ALL OF THE ISSUES. PUT THE ISSUES ON THE TABLE. ARE PEOPLE BEING EXPLOITED? IS THIS ABOUT CHEAP WAGES? IS LANGUAGE A PROBLEM? IS THERE A LAW ENFORCEMENT PROBLEM? PUT ALL OF THOSE DIFFICULT ISSUES ON THE TABLE AND COME UP WITH A COMPREHENSIVE SYSTEMIC APPROACH TO THIS AS WE DID IN THE 1970S AND DID SO SUCCESSFULLY. WE'VE ESSENTIALLY ALLOWED ONE OR TWO INDUSTRIES TO PUT A FACE ON IMMIGRATION IN THE STATE, WHICH IS REALLY UNFORTUNATE. THEY'VE DONE A POOR JOB OF DOING THAT. WE NEED, AS A GOVERNMENT, I THINK, TO PUT A DIFFERENT FACE ON IT, AND THAT'S WHAT WE'RE TRYING TO DO.

Glover: GOVERNOR, IT WOULDN'T BE AN OFFICIAL IOWA PRESS SHOW IF WE DIDN'T SPEND AT LEAST A LITTLE TIME TALKING ABOUT POLITICS. Vilsack: I THOUGHT THAT'S WHAT WE WERE DOING.

Glover: TALKING ABOUT POLITICS, WE HAVE TO GET AWAY FROM THAT JUST A LITTLE BIT. WHAT'S YOUR FUTURE? YOU SAID YOU HAVEN'T MADE A DECISION ABOUT RUNNING AGAIN. WHAT'S YOUR TIME FRAME FOR MAKING THAT DECISION? WHAT FACTORS GO INTO IT, AND WHAT'S THE LIKELIHOOD OF IT?

Vilsack: WELL, CHRISTIE AND I ARE GOING TO SIT DOWN THIS SUMMER AND TAKE A GOOD HARD LOOK AT WHERE WE ARE WITH OUR LIVES AND DECIDE WHETHER OR NOT WE WANT TO CONTINUE IN THIS JOB OR AT LEAST ASK IOWANS FOR AN OPPORTUNITY TO CONTINUE. WHEN WE HAVE HAD THAT MEETING, WE'LL MAKE A DECISION AND WE'LL BE PREPARED TO ANNOUNCE IT.

Yepsen: IT'S FAIR TO SAY YOU'RE PROBABLY GOING TO RUN. I MEAN, YOU DIDN'T RAISE A MILLION DOLLARS LAST YEAR BECAUSE YOU WEREN'T GOING TO USE IT.

Vilsack: WELL, YOU KNOW, YOU WANT TO BE PREPARED. YOU WANT TO BE ABLE TO HAVE OPTIONS. WE TAKE THIS SERIOUSLY. THIS IS AN ENORMOUS RESPONSIBILITY. IT HAS BEEN A GREAT OPPORTUNITY FOR ME PERSONALLY, AND IT'S BEEN A GREAT OPPORTUNITY FOR HER. SO THAT'S THE FUTURE, IS BASICALLY SITTING DOWN AND VISITING ABOUT WHETHER OR NOT WE HAVE SOMETHING TO OFFER THE STATE.

Yepsen: WE'VE ONLY GOT A FEW SECONDS LEFT, GOVERNOR. IF YOU'RE REELECTED, WOULD YOU FILL OUT YOUR TERM?

Vilsack: WHY WOULDN'T I?

Yepsen: YOU MIGHT RUN FOR THE U.S. SENATE. YOU MIGHT RUN FOR PRESIDENT IF YOU'RE RE-ELECTED.

Vilsack: IS THAT AN ENDORSEMENT?

Yepsen: NO, IT'S A QUESTION.

Vilsack: I FOCUS ON THE JOB THAT I HAVE. I ALWAYS HAVE AND I ALWAYS WILL, AND I THINK THAT'S THE BEST WAY YOU HANDLE POLITICS. YOU FOCUS ON THE JOB THAT YOU HAVE. I HAVE NEVER THOUGHT ABOUT THE NEXT JOB OR SOMEBODY ELSE'S JOB. AT THIS POINT IN TIME, I'M THINKING ABOUT THIS JOB. I TRULY BELIEVE THIS IS THE BEST JOB IN POLITICS. I LOVE IT. I FULLY WOULD EXPECT TO DO IT IF THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE WERE WILLING TO GIVE ME ANOTHER SHOT.

Glover: YOU'RE THE TOP ELECTED DEMOCRAT IN THE STATE. WHAT'S THE HEALTH OF DEMOCRATIC PARTY?

Vilsack: I THINK WE'RE IN PRETTY GOOD SHAPE. I THINK THERE'S AN ENTHUSIASM AND AN EXCITEMENT. WE'VE GOT A NEW CHAIR AND SHEILA [MCGUIRE-RIGGS] IS GOING TO DO A GREAT JOB, AND I THINK WE'RE LOOKING FORWARD TO 2002. SENATOR HARKIN IS CERTAINLY LOOKING FORWARD TO A SPIRITED CONTEST. WE'VE GOT REAPPORTIONMENT THAT'S GOING TO GIVE US AN OPPORTUNITY TO HAVE SPIRITED CONGRESSIONAL RACES, AND WE'RE LOOKING FORWARD TO SOME LEGISLATIVE RACES.

Borg: THANK YOU, GOVERNOR. ON OUR NEXT EDITION OF IOWA PRESS, WE DISCUSS PARTY POLITICS WITH THE NEW LEADER OF THE IOWA REPUBLICAN PARTY. STATE REP. CHUCK LARSON OF CEDAR RAPIDS, WHO RECENTLY REPLACED KAYNE ROBINSON TO CHAIR THE IOWA REPUBLICAN PARTY. YOU'LL NOTE THE AIRTIME NEXT SUNDAY DEVIATES JUST A BIT FROM OUR NORMAL NOON AND 7 SCHEDULE. NEXT SUNDAY ONLY, IOWA PRESS AIRS ONCE AND THAT WILL BE DURING THE NOON HOUR AT 12:20. THE WEEK FOLLOWING, ON SUNDAY, MARCH 11, THE NEW CHAIRWOMAN OF THE IOWA DEMOCRATIC PARTY, WE JUST MENTIONED HER, SHEILA MCGUIRE-RIGGS JOINS US HERE AT THE IOWA PRESS TABLE. THAT'S IT FOR THIS WEEK. I'M DEAN BORG. THANKS FOR JOINING US TODAY.

Narrator: 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 BUSINESSES, 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.