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Iowa Press #2832 - State Reps. Christopher Rants and Richard Myers
April 15, 2001

Dean Borg: UNDER SEVERE FISCAL CONSTRAINTS, THE FIRST SESSION OF THE 79TH IOWA GENERAL ASSEMBLY STRUGGLES TO MATCH REVENUE WITH VISIONARY PLANS. WE'LL DISCUSS DIFFERING APPROACHES TO THE FISCAL PROBLEMS WITH TWO LEADERS FROM THE IOWA HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES... REPUBLICAN CHRISTOPHER RANTS AND DEMOCRAT RICHARD MYERS 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 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, APRIL 15 EDITION OF IOWA PRESS. HERE IS DEAN BORG.

Borg: WELL, AT THE IOWA STATEHOUSE, THE BUDGET BATTLES CONTINUE. ACTUALLY THOSE BATTLES ARE BEING FOUGHT ON SEVERAL FRONTS, REPUBLICAN AGAINST DEMOCRATIC, LEGISLATIVE BRANCH AGAINST EXECUTIVE BRANCH, EVEN HOUSE AGAINST THE SENATE. MONEY, AT THE ROOT OF THE DISCOURSE. THE STATE IS PREDICTED TO RECEIVE $300 MILLION LESS THAN EXPECTED DURING THE NEXT FISCAL YEAR. THEN LATE IN THE WEEK, THE LEGISLATORS RECEIVED A NEW PLAN FOR REDISTRICTING CONGRESSIONAL AND LEGISLATIVE DISTRICTS. THAT TOOK SOME ATTENTION, TOO. LAST WEEK AT THIS TIME, WE WELCOMED TO THE IOWA PRESS TABLE, TWO LEADERS FROM THE IOWA SENATE. THEY WERE REPUBLICAN MAJORITY LEADER STEWART IVERSON AND DEMOCRATIC MINORITY LEADER MIKE GRONSTAL. THIS WEEK, PERSPECTIVE FROM THE IOWA HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES. CHRISTOPHER RANTS FROM SIOUX CITY LEADS THE MAJORITY REPUBLICANS, AND RICHARD MYERS FROM IOWA CITY IS THE HOUSE MINORITY LEADER. GENTLEMEN, WELCOME BACK TO IOWA PRESS.

Rants and Myers: THANK YOU. THANK YOU, DEAN.

Borg: ACROSS THE TABLE, STATEHOUSE REPORTERS DAVID YEPSEN OF THE DES MOINES REGISTER AND MIKE GLOVER OF THE ASSOCIATED PRESS.

Glover: REPRESENTATIVE RANTS, I THINK IT'S FAIR TO SAY THAT THE NEW CONGRESSIONAL LEGISLATIVE MAPS THAT CAME OUT LAST WEEK GOT THE ATTENTION OF THE LEGISLATURE. VERY LITTLE ELSE WAS PAID ATTENTION TO AFTER THAT. WHAT'S YOUR REACTION TO THOSE NEW MAPS?

Rants: I THINK THE SERVICE BUREAU OBVIOUSLY DID A PRETTY GOOD JOB AT GETTING THE NUMERICAL DIFFERENCES BETWEEN CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICTS AND LEGISLATIVE DISTRICTS FAIRLY CLOSE. WE'RE GOING TO TAKE SOME TIME LOOKING AT THEM. ONE OF THE CHIEF CONCERNS I'VE HEARD RAISED IS ABOUT GEOGRAPHIC COMPACTNESS. THAT IS ONE OF THE ELEMENTS THAT HAS TO BE CONSIDERED IN LOOKING AT THESE DISTRICTS. THERE ARE A NUMBER OF DISTRICTS THAT DON'T SEEM TO MEET THAT CRITERIA. I'LL GIVE YOU A COUPLE QUICK EXAMPLES: ONE BEING THE DISTRICT THAT INCLUDES WINDSOR HEIGHTS AND GOES ALL THE WAY UP INTO RURAL DALLAS COUNTY. YOU CAN'T DRAW A STRAIGHT LINE ACROSS THAT DISTRICT AND INCLUDE THE TOWNS THAT ARE IN THERE. YOU'VE GOT SWISHER AND CONESVILLE IN ONE DISTRICT, BUT IF YOU WERE TO DRAW A LINE BETWEEN THOSE TWO, YOU'D GO OVER FIVE OTHER LEGISLATIVE DISTRICTS. SO THERE ARE GOING TO BE SOME CONCERNS. I EXPECT THOSE WILL BE CONCERNS THAT WE HEAR ABOUT AT THE PUBLIC HEARINGS THAT ARE COMING UP THIS WEEK. WE'LL WAIT AND SEE WHAT COMES OUT OF THOSE HEARINGS.

Glover: REPRESENTATIVE MYERS, YOU'VE HAD A CHANCE TO LOOK AT THIS MAP. WHAT'S YOUR FIRST REACTION TO IT?

Myers: WELL, FIRST OF ALL, I WANT TO CONGRATULATE THE LEGISLATIVE SERVICE BUREAU ON THE JOB THEY DID.

Glover: I'VE GOT TO INTERRUPT FOR A SECOND. FOR THOSE OF US WHO AREN'T FAMILIAR WITH THE LEGISLATION THAT'S STRUCTURED, THE SERVICE BUREAU IS THE BILL DRAFTING ARM OF THE LEGISLATURE THAT PREPARED THESE MAPS.

Myers: THAT'S RIGHT. I THINK ONE OF THE THINGS IS THAT WE HAVE A NONPOLITICAL, NONPARTISAN PROCESS THAT'S PRETTY SCIENTIFIC TO DO THIS. I THINK THAT'S IMPORTANT. WE'RE UNIQUE IN THIS COUNTRY IN THAT RESPECT. SO I DO APPLAUD THE JOB THEY'VE DONE. FIRST OF ALL, I SHARE WITH REPRESENTATIVE RANTS HIS CONCERNS ABOUT COMPACTNESS BUT, AT THE SAME TIME, THERE'S AN OPEN PLAYING FIELD. THERE'S 26 OPEN SEATS IN THAT PLAN, AND THERE ARE SEVERAL OTHER SEATS THAT ARE CONTESTED BETWEEN PARTIES, AS WELL AS BETWEEN INCUMBENTS... I THINK 25 MORE. SO REGARDLESS OF WHAT YOU SAY, THERE'S GOING TO BE SOME CHANGE IN THE IOWA LEGISLATURE, AND THERE'S A LEVEL PLAYING FIELD OUT THERE FOR BOTH PARTIES.

Glover: LET'S STEP BACK FOR A SECOND. EVERYBODY SAYS THEY LOVE IOWA'S NONPARTISAN LAW; THE NONPARTISAN AGENCY DRAFTS THE PLAN. THAT'S HAPPENING. THE NONPARTISAN AGENCIES DRAFT A PLAN ACCORDING TO STANDARDS OF THE LAW AND PRODUCED THEM. WHY DON'T YOU JUST APPROVE IT?

Myers: I DIDN'T HEAR THAT.

Glover: WHY DON'T YOU JUST APPROVE IT?

Myers: WELL, IN FACT, I MAY BE WILLING TO DO THAT. IN FACT, I WOULD LIKE TO ISSUE A CHALLENGE TO REPRESENTATIVE RANTS, NOW THAT I THINK ABOUT IT, THAT WE KEEP THE PARTISAN POLITICS OUT OF THIS THING AND STICK TO THE IDEA IN WHAT WE STARTED OUT TO DO AND NOT POLITICIZE THIS THING. BUT I'M PERFECTLY WILLING TO TAKE ONE OF THESE UNAMENDABLE PLANS AND PUT IT THROUGH THAT PROCESS AND CONSIDER IT. RIGHT NOW I LIKE THE PLAN.

Glover: REPRESENTATIVE RANTS?

Rants: I WOULD SUBMIT THAT IT WON'T BE A PARTISAN SORT OF DECISION. I THINK THE CODE LAYS OUT SEVERAL DIFFERENT QUALIFICATIONS THE LEGISLATURE HAS TO LOOK AT. THAT'S WHY WE DO HAVE A SERIES OF PUBLIC HEARINGS, AND WE'LL GO THROUGH THAT. AS I SAID, I THINK IT'S VERY CLOSE IN NUMBERS, SO THERE IS ONE VOTE PER PERSON, BUT I THINK ALSO EQUALLY IMPORTANT IS THE QUESTION OF GEOGRAPHIC COMPACTNESS. WE'LL SEE WHAT THE PUBLIC HAS TO SAY ABOUT THAT THIS WEEK.

Yepsen: MR. RANTS, WHAT ABOUT THE ISSUE OF JIM NUSSLE AND JIM LEACH BEING IN THE SAME CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT? ISN'T THAT OF SOME CONCERN?

Rants: I IMAGINE I'M GOING TO GET TO SOME CALLS FROM OUR CONGRESSIONAL DELEGATION ABOUT THOSE. INTERESTINGLY ENOUGH, THERE WAS MORE SPECULATION AROUND THE CAPITOL ABOUT THAT PARTICULAR QUESTION. YOU'VE GOT JIM NUSSLE AND JIM LEACH IN ONE DISTRICT. TOM LATHAM FINDS HIMSELF IN A NEW DISTRICT. AND THEN YOU HAVE THE FIFTH DISTRICT IN MY PART OF THE STATE, WESTERN IOWA, THAT IS OVERWHELMINGLY REPUBLICAN. THERE'S A LOT OF SPECULATION WHAT HAPPENS BETWEEN NUSSLE AND LEACH. THERE'S SPECULATION ABOUT WHETHER OR NOT REPRESENTATIVE LATHAM MOVES WESTWARD ONE COUNTY AND REPRESENTATIVE NUSSLE MOVES WESTWARD ONE COUNTY, AND THEN REPUBLICANS BASICALLY HOLD ONTO THOSE SEATS. I'D SUBMIT TO YOU, DAVID, THAT THERE'S SOMETHING THAT SOME PEOPLE HAVEN'T EVEN TALKED ABOUT YET. WHAT IF TOM LATHAM MOVES SOUTH ONE COUNTY AND ENDS UP IN STORY COUNTY AND SUDDENLY IN THE CENTRAL IOWA DISTRICT, YOU'VE GOT A REPUBLICAN INCUMBENT AND REPUBLICAN INCUMBENTS IN THOSE OTHER TWO? I THINK ANYTHING CAN HAPPEN.

Yepsen: MR. RANTS, IS YOUR RESERVATION ABOUT ACCEPTING THIS PLAN BECAUSE YOU'RE WORRIED ABOUT KEEPING CONTROL OF THE LEGISLATURE? IT'S NOT REALLY ABOUT COMPACTNESS, IS IT? IT'S ABOUT 26 OPEN SEATS, AND YOU'VE GOT A LOT OF PEOPLE THAT ARE GOING TO RETIRE, AND YOU'RE WORRIED ABOUT LOSING THE LEGISLATURE.

Rants: WHEN I LOOK AT THOSE OPEN SEATS, I THINK THOSE OPEN SEATS ARE PRETTY GOOD FOR REPUBLICANS. THEY TEND TO BE IN SUBURBAN AREAS WHERE WE HAVE SEEN GROWTH BOTH IN OUR MAJORITIES AS WELL AS IN REPUBLICAN REGISTRATION. THOSE OPEN SEATS DON'T CONCERN ME, BUT I THINK THOSE PEOPLE THAT LIVE IN THOSE DISTRICTS WILL QUESTION WHAT WE HAVE IN COMMON WITH OTHER PEOPLE IN OUR DISTRICT AND WILL WE HAVE A REPRESENTATIVE THAT CAN REPRESENT BOTH PARTS OF A VERY DIVERSE AREA.

Borg: REPRESENTATIVE MYERS, WHEN DO YOU GET TO -- YOU SAY WHAT NONPARTISANSHIP IN THIS, BUT WHEN IT GETS DOWN TO POLITICS ON THIS, IF YOU LOOK AT THOSE CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICTS THAT WE WERE TALKING ABOUT JUST A LITTLE BIT AGO, YOU MIGHT SAY WITH A COUPLE OF CONGRESSMEN THAT ARE INCUMBENTS RIGHT NOW MAKING A SHORT MOVE INTO ANOTHER DISTRICT, THAT STILL SEEMS TO GIVE A 3/2 SPLIT TO THE REPUBLICANS IN CONGRESS.

Myers: IT MIGHT. WHAT IT DOES GIVE US IS AN OPEN PLAYING FIELD -- OR A LEVEL PLAYING FIELD, I SHOULD SAY. THERE'S A NEW DAY IN TOWN. WE'VE GOT SOME CHANGE GOING, AND I THINK EVERYTHING IS UP FOR GRABS. SOME OF THOSE DISTRICTS CLEARLY ARE REPUBLICAN OR DEMOCRATIC IN THE LEGISLATURE BUT, REGARDLESS, WHEN YOU TAKE 26 OPEN SEATS PLUS YOU TAKE ALL THOSE OTHER THINGS THAT ARE INVOLVED IN THE LEGISLATURE, REPUBLICAN VERSUS REPUBLICAN, DEMOCRAT VERSUS DEMOCRAT, THOSE ARE 21 SEATS INVOLVED IN THAT PART, THEN YOU'VE GOT A CHANCE TO PRESENT YOUR CASE TO THE PEOPLE, AND IT'S GOING TO DEPEND A LOT ON THE CANDIDATE.

Yepsen: MR. RANTS, DOESN'T THIS PLAN, IN FACT, CRACK THE REPUBLICAN BASE IN RURAL IOWA? YOU'VE GOT A LOT OF YOUR MEMBERS COME FROM RURAL IOWA. RURAL IOWA IS LOSING POPULATION, SO ANY REAPPORTIONMENT PLAN MEANS THAT THEY'RE GOING TO LOSE MEMBERSHIP IN THE LEGISLATURE. YOU WIND UP WITH A LOT OF YOUR TROOPS THROWN TOGETHER. ISN'T THIS GOING TO HURT THE REPUBLICANS?

Rants: I DON'T BELIEVE THAT, DAVID. WHEN YOU SEE THE SHIFT THAT'S GONE ON BECAUSE THERE HAS BEEN A SHIFT FROM RURAL IOWA, NOT JUST URBAN IOWA, BUT TO SUBURBAN IOWA. AND, YES, REPUBLICANS HAVE ALWAYS HELD A LARGE BASE OF SUPPORT IN THOSE RURAL AREAS. AND YOU'LL FIND A LOT -- IT'S INTERESTING WHEN YOU LOOK AT THE MAPS, REPUBLICANS THAT GET THROWN IN TOGETHER ARE AT THE VERY EDGES OF THE LEGISLATIVE DISTRICTS, SO THEY'RE JUST BARELY IN THERE TOGETHER. DOES THAT THROW A LOT OF REPUBLICANS IN TOGETHER? ABSOLUTELY. BUT AGAIN, I'M LOOKING ALSO AT THOSE BRAND-NEW DISTRICTS THAT HAVE DEVELOPED. THERE'S BRAND-NEW DISTRICTS JUST EAST OF SIOUX CITY THAT GO JUST NORTH. THAT'S A VACANT DISTRICT THAT A REPUBLICAN WILL WIN. THERE ARE BRAND-NEW DISTRICTS THAT WILL BE CREATED IN POLK COUNTY THAT REPUBLICANS WILL WIN, NEW DISTRICTS IN LINN COUNTY THAT REPUBLICANS WILL WIN. THOSE OPEN DISTRICTS DON'T CONCERN ME AT ALL. I SEE THEM AS ADVANTAGES.

Yepsen: MR. MYERS, WHAT'S YOUR GUT TELL YOU? ARE WE GOING TO BE CALLING YOU MR. SPEAKER TWO YEARS FROM NOW?

Myers: WELL, RIGHT NOW I'M INTERESTED IN GETTING THROUGH THIS SESSION. RIGHT NOW I'D LIKE TO GOVERN AND NOT WORRY ABOUT CAMPAIGNING. BUT AS FAR AS THE OPEN SEATS ARE CONCERNED, I LOOK UPON THOSE AS OPPORTUNITIES TO BRING OUR MESSAGE TO DIFFERENT AREAS WHERE MAYBE WE HAVEN'T REPRESENTED BEFORE. I THINK THERE ARE A LOT OF OPPORTUNITIES OUT THERE.

Glover: REPRESENTATIVE RANTS, LET'S SAY YOU REJECT THIS PLAN. WHAT IS IT THAT YOU EXPECT TO SEE IN THE NEXT PLAN THAT YOU DON'T SEE IN THIS PLAN? BUILDING ON DAVID'S QUESTION, THE FUNDAMENTAL DEMOGRAPHICS ARE THERE. RURAL IOWA IS DEPOPULATING; SUBURBAN IOWA AND, TO A DEGREE, URBAN IOWA IS EXPANDING. WON'T THE NEXT MAP LOOK A LOT LIKE THIS, WITH MAYBE A LITTLE TWEAKING AROUND THE EDGES?

Rants: MIKE, I IMAGINE THAT IT WOULD AND IT'S TOO EARLY TO SPECULATE ON THAT. WE'VE HAD THE PLAN FOR ONLY A FEW HOURS. THE PUBLIC HASN'T HAD AN OPPORTUNITY TO COMMENT YET AT THE PUBLIC HEARINGS. THE REDISTRICTING COMMISSION HASN'T HAD AN OPPORTUNITY TO REVIEW THE PLAN AND PRESENT ANY RECOMMENDATIONS. I THINK IT'S TOO EARLY TO SPECULATE ON THAT.

Yepsen: MR. MYERS, IS THERE ANY SENSE OF WANTING TO GET THIS OVER WITH? THE LAW SAYS THAT YOU TAKE THIS PLAN, YOU CAN'T CHANGE IT. IF YOU TURN IT DOWN, THEN YOU GET ANOTHER PLAN, YOU CAN'T CHANGE IT. THEN IF YOU TURN THAT DOWN, YOU GET A THIRD PLAN, WHICH YOU CAN CHANGE. IF YOU GO THROUGH ALL THOSE HOOPS, YOU'RE GOING TO BE IN SESSION TILL JUNE. DO YOUR MEMBERS FEEL LIKE THE DEVIL YOU KNOW IS BETTER THAN THE ONE THAT YOU DON'T AND LET'S TAKE THIS PLAN AND MOVE ON WITH THE CAMPAIGN?

Myers: FIRST OF ALL, I LIKE THE IDEA OF THE UNAMENDED PROCESS, THE NONPARTISAN, SCIENTIFIC METHOD OF DOING THIS. I THINK THE PEOPLE OF IOWA EXPECT TO HAVE THAT KIND OF DECISION MADE. SO I'M NOT WORRIED, FRANKLY, ABOUT GETTING TO THE THIRD PROCESS. I'M ALSO NOT NECESSARILY WORRIED ABOUT WHAT THE CAMPAIGN IS GOING TO LOOK LIKE. RIGHT NOW I WANT TO GET ON TO THE SESSION.

Glover: REPRESENTATIVE RANTS, IF WE GO TO THE DEVIL WE KNOW, AS REPRESENTATIVE MYERS SAID, THERE IS A BUDGET CRISIS UP AT THE HILL.

Rants: BUT THIS GOES AWAY ON MONDAY. EVERYBODY IS BACK TO FOCUSING ON THE BUDGET ON MONDAY.

Glover: I SUSPECT WE'LL BE TALKING ABOUT THIS FOR THE NEXT TWO WEEKS AS WELL. BUT THERE IS A $300 MILLION HOLE IN THIS YEAR'S STATE BUDGET -- OR NEXT YEAR'S STATE BUDGET. WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO ABOUT IT?

Rants: WELL, WE HAVE LAID A BUDGET ON THE TABLE THAT DOESN'T RAID THE ECONOMIC EMERGENCY FUND AND LIVES WITHIN THE REVENUE PROJECTIONS THAT OUR NONPARTISAN FISCAL BUREAU AND REVENUE ESTIMATING CONFERENCE PUT FORWARD. IT SPENDS LESS MONEY THAN WE TOOK IN LAST YEAR, BUT THAT IS A FACT OF LIFE WE ARE GOING TO HAVE TO LIVE WITH BECAUSE WE'RE GOING TO COLLECT LESS IN TAXES. THIS NOTION THAT THE GOVERNOR HAS OF RAIDING OUR RESERVE FUNDS, NOT BECAUSE HE WANTS TO FILL IN AN IMMEDIATE HOLE BUT BECAUSE HE WANTS TO SPEND MORE MONEY THAN WE'RE PROJECTED TO TAKE IN, IN REVENUES, SETS US UP FOR FUTURE TROUBLE IN THE FOLLOWING YEAR, IN FY '03, ACTUALLY 2002. IT'S GOING TO MAKE FOR SOME VERY DIFFICULT NEGOTIATIONS. IT'S A FUNDAMENTAL QUESTION: DO YOU WE REPEAT THE MISTAKES THAT THE LEGISLATURE AND THE GOVERNOR JOINTLY MADE BACK IN THE 1980S THAT RESULTED IN A TAX INCREASE AT THE BEGINNING OF THE '90S, OR DO WE BUCKLE DOWN AND SAY WE'RE GOING TO SPEND WHAT WE TAKE IN? AND THAT MEANS IN SOME CASES, SOME AGENCIES WILL HAVE TO CUT BACK ON PROGRAMMING. IN SOME CASES THEY'LL HAVE TO NOT START NEW PROGRAMS. BUT IT'S A FUNDAMENTAL QUESTION WE'RE GOING TO FACE.

Glover: ANY WAY YOU CAN DO THAT BY APRIL 27, WHICH IS THE SCHEDULED END OF THE SESSION?

Rants: I THINK THAT WE WILL NOT END ON TIME. I THINK WE WILL GO LONG.

Glover: REPRESENTATIVE MYERS, CAN WE ASSUME THAT THE PROPOSAL THAT GOVERNOR VILSACK HAS LAID ON THE TABLE IS ALSO THE DEMOCRATIC LEGISLATIVE PROPOSAL? DO YOU HAVE DIFFERENCES WITH HIM?

Myers: WELL, WE MAY HAVE DIFFERENCES IN HOW THE ECONOMIC EMERGENCY FUND IS USED BUT, REGARDLESS, THE BUDGET IS ABOUT PRIORITIES. AND I DON'T SEE ANY PRIORITIES BEING ESTABLISHED IN THIS REPUBLICAN PLAN AT ALL. IN FACT, I THINK WE'VE HAD A LACK OF PLANNING FOR THE ENTIRE SESSION. YOU KNOW, THIS IS ABOUT MANAGING RESOURCES, AND WE'RE NOT DOING THAT VERY WELL. I'M NOT SURE WE EVEN KNOW WHAT WE'RE GOING TO DO BEFORE THE SESSION IS OVER WITH. I THINK WE'RE SORT OF USING THE RUSSIAN ARTILLERY APPROACH. WE'RE JUST OUT THERE THROWING THINGS OUT AND HOPING SOMETHING STICKS. I'D LIKE TO PUT PEOPLE IN A ROOM AND SAY, WHAT DO WE NEED TO USE OUT OF OUR RESERVES IF ANYTHING. LET'S STOP SAYING THAT IT'S GOING TO BE MY WAY OR THE HIGHWAY KIND OF APPROACH. I THINK IT'S TIME START COMPROMISING ON THIS BUDGET AND GET TO SOME THINGS THAT WE CAN AGREE ON, ESTABLISH SOME PRIORITIES, AND VOTE THEM OUT. THAT DOESN'T MEAN NECESSARILY ACCEPTING TOTALLY THE GOVERNOR'S PLAN. I'M NOT READY TO DO THAT EITHER.

Yepsen: MR. RANTS, ..

Rants: I'M GLAD TO HEAR THAT.

Yepsen: LET'S BRING THIS HOME TO PEOPLE. WE'RE TALKING ABOUT $300 MILLION IN THE HOLE, WHICH IS A LOT OF MONEY TO MOST PEOPLE. WE TALK ABOUT ECONOMIC EMERGENCY FUNDS AND ALL THIS, AND IT GETS LOST IN THERE. WHAT'S THE HUMAN FACE ON THIS? IS THIS GOING TO MEAN ANYTHING TO THE PEOPLE OF IOWA? WILL THEY BE ABLE TO SEE THIS BUDGET PROBLEM IN ANY WAY?

Rants: IF WE DO OUR JOB RIGHT, I DON'T THINK THAT AVERAGE IOWANS ARE GOING TO BE IMPACTED. BUT IF WE SCREW UP, IF WE MAKE MISTAKES, AND IF WE TAKE THE EASY WAY, WHICH IS TO RAID THOSE RESERVES -- I'M GLAD THAT DICK DOESN'T WANT TO DO THAT. THAT'S GOOD NEWS FOR US.

Myers: I DIDN'T SAY I WANTED TO DO THAT, I SAID THERE'S A COMPROMISE.

Rants: BUT IF WE GO DOWN THAT ROAD, THEN YOU CREATE PROBLEMS FOR NEXT YEAR. THEN I THINK YOU SEE REAL IMPACTS. FOR INSTANCE, BY RAIDING THE RESERVE FUNDS, YOU'RE GOING TO NOT BE ABLE TO MAKE SCHOOL AID PAYMENTS ON TIME NEXT YEAR. THAT WILL HAVE A SERIOUS IMPACT ON OUR LOCAL SCHOOL DISTRICTS. WE CAN'T AFFORD TO GO BACK TO THOSE DAYS WHEN SCHOOL DISTRICTS HAD TO BORROW MONEY FROM LOCAL BANKS SO THEY COULD MAKE PAYROLL. THAT'S THE KIND OF MISTAKES WE NEED TO AVOID, AND I THINK THAT DOES PUT A RURAL FACE ON IT.

Yepsen: MR. MYERS, YOU SAID THERE'S A COMPROMISE? FIRST OF ALL, WHAT'S YOUR FACE ON IT? SECONDLY, WHAT'S THE COMPROMISE HERE?

Myers: FIRST, I BELIEVE THAT AVERAGE IOWANS WILL SEE THE EFFECT OF THESE BUDGET CUTS. I THINK YOU'RE GOING TO SEE TUITION INCREASES IN SOME OF OUR STATE UNIVERSITIES. I ALSO BELIEVE THAT WHEN YOU'RE SOMEBODY WHO NEEDS NEUROMUSCULAR DYSTROPHY SERVICE AT A CLINIC AROUND THE STATE OF IOWA AND YOU FIND OUT YOU NO LONGER HAVE THAT SERVICE AND YOU'RE JUST ABOVE THE POVERTY LINE, YOU ARE GOING TO SEE THE EFFECT OF THIS BUDGET. TO SAY THAT PEOPLE AREN'T GOING TO SEE THE EFFECT IS SIMPLY NOT TRUE. IT'S TIME WE PUT OUR BUDGET PRIORITIES ON THE TABLE. THE BUDGET PRIORITIES FOR DEMOCRATS INCLUDE EDUCATION, PUBLIC SAFETY, AND TAKING CARE OF CHILDREN. RIGHT NOW I DON'T SEE US DOING THAT.

Yepsen: YOU SAID THERE'S A COMPROMISE; HAVE YOU GOT SOMETHING IN MIND?

Myers: WELL, I'M PERFECTLY WILLING TO NEGOTIATE.

Glover: REPRESENTATIVE RANTS --

Myers: AS A MATTER OF FACT I DO, BUT I'D LIKE TO NEGOTIATE.

Glover: REPRESENTATIVE RANTS, ONE OF THE CHARGES THAT REPRESENTATIVE MYERS JUST MADE IS THAT IOWANS ARE GOING TO PAY MORE TUITION, HIGHER FEES FOR VARIOUS GOVERNMENT SERVICES IF THESE CUTS GO THROUGH. IS IT A CASE OF PAY ME NOW OR PAY ME LATER THAT IOWANS ARE GOING TO PAY -- ONE WAY OR THE OTHER IS GOING TO PAY SOMETHING A LITTLE DIFFERENT IF YOUR CUTS ARE PASSED?

Rants: I THINK IF WE DON'T MAKE SOME CUTS THIS YEAR, THEY WILL CERTAINLY PAY LATER, BECAUSE IF WE RAID THIS RESERVE FUND, AS THE GOVERNOR IS PROPOSING TO DO, YOU HAVE TO PAY THAT BACK NEXT YEAR. THAT'S A $70 MILLION PAYMENT YOU HAVE TO RETURN TO THE RESERVE FUND NEXT YEAR. ON TOP OF THAT, YOU HAVE TO FIND $120 MILLION TO BACKFILL WHAT YOU USED THE RESERVE FUNDS FOR. THAT'S $190 MILLION RIGHT THERE. ALLOWABLE GROWTH IS ANOTHER 50 ON TOP OF THAT. YOU WANT TO MAKE A SECOND INSTALLMENT PAYMENT ON INCREASED TEACHER SALARIES. THAT'S ANOTHER $60 MILLION ON TOP OF THAT. THE GOVERNOR HAS NEGOTIATED A $60 MILLION SALARY PACKAGE ON TOP OF THAT FOR STATE EMPLOYEES. IT ADDS UP TO WELL OVER -- CLOSE TO $350 MILLION WHEN YOU FIGURE IN MEDICAID, AND WE'RE ONLY PROJECTED TO TAKE IN ANOTHER $200 MILLION IN REVENUE. IT WILL HAVE A SERIOUS IMPACT NEXT YEAR. IF YOU TACKLE IT NOW, I THINK WE CAN AVOID A LOT OF THOSE PROBLEMS, PARTICULARLY IF YOU SET PRIORITIES. EDUCATION HAPPENS TO BE A PRIORITY THAT WE SHARE, BOTH PARTIES SHARE.

Borg: REPRESENTATIVE RANTS, IF THIS ISN'T AN EMERGENCY, THEN WHAT IS?

Rants: I WOULD SUMMIT TO YOU -- I'LL GIVE YOU TWO EXAMPLES OF WHAT AN ECONOMIC EMERGENCY IS IN MY OPINION. I'VE GOT A LOT OF MEMBERS -- I CALL IT THE RURAL CAUCUS WITHIN THE REPUBLICAN CAUCUS THAT ARE VERY CONCERNED ABOUT HOOF-AND-MOUTH DISEASE COMING TO IOWA, COMING TO THE UNITED STATES, AND WIPING OUT THE CATTLE POPULATION. IF THAT HAPPENED, THAT WOULD TRULY BE AN ECONOMIC EMERGENCY. IF A TORNADO WENT THROUGH REPRESENTATIVE MYERS' DISTRICT AND WIPED OUT THE UNIVERSITY OF IOWA AND DESTROYED THE CAMPUS, AND STUDENTS AND THE POPULATION WAS WITHOUT SHELTER AND FOOD AND WATER, THAT'S AN EMERGENCY. THAT'S THE REASON WE SET THAT FUND ASIDE. THAT'S ALSO THE REASON WHY, WHEN THE ECONOMIC EMERGENCY FUND WAS CREATED, YOU COULD ONLY SPEND THE MONEY IN THE FISCAL YEAR THAT YOU WERE IN. YOU COULDN'T SPEND THE MONEY FOR THE NEXT FISCAL YEAR TO FILL BUDGET SHORTFALLS. NOT ONLY DOES THE GOVERNOR WANT TO TAKE THE MONEY, HE WANTS TO CHANGE THE LAW THAT ALLOWS HIM TO TAKE THE MONEY. THAT'S AN ECONOMIC EMERGENCY. NOT HAVING AS MUCH MONEY AS YOU WOULD LIKE TO SPEND, THAT'S NOT AN ECONOMIC EMERGENCY.

Borg: REPRESENTATIVE MYERS, IS THAT YOUR DEFINITION TOO? I SEE THAT YOU EQUIVOCATE A BIT ON THIS EMERGENCY --

Myers: I THINK IT'S AN ECONOMIC EMERGENCY WHEN CERTAIN PEOPLE CAN'T GET NEEDED SERVICES TO SURVIVE AND YOU HAVE TO PUT A KID IN AN INSTITUTION BECAUSE OF IT. I THINK THAT'S AN EMERGENCY. I THINK WE OUGHT TO TAKE CARE OF THINGS LIKE THAT. WE HAVE SOME RESPONSIBILITIES IN THIS STATE. MAYBE THE 120 MILLION ISN'T THE ANSWER BUT, REGARDLESS, I WOULD POINT OUT TO MY FRIEND THE MAJORITY LEADER THAT OUR 98-, 99-PERCENT SPENDING LAW AND A $5 BILLION BUDGET WOULD PUT $50 MILLION INTO THAT FUND BY THE LAW.

Rants: THAT'S RIGHT.

Myers: RIGHT OFF THE BAT.

Rants: THAT'S WHY I'M SAYING IF YOU TAKE 120 OUT, YOU HAVE TO PAY BACK 50 THIS YEAR, YOU HAVE TO PAY BACK 70 NEXT YEAR.

Myers: THAT 50 IS GOING IN THERE, THOUGH, BUT BY THE LAW NOW, REGARDLESS.

Rants: THAT'S RIGHT, BUT YOU STILL HAVE TO RETURN THE OTHER 70 NEXT YEAR AND FIND THE FULL 120 TO MAKE UP FOR WHAT YOU SPEND IT ON THIS YEAR.

Myers: BUT REGARDLESS, WHAT WE'RE SEEING HERE FROM THE MAJORITY PARTY IS THE LACK OF MANAGEMENT AND THE SORT OF TAKE-NO-PRISONERS APPROACH. WE'RE NOT WILLING TO NEGOTIATE AND FIND OUT WHETHER OR NOT WE COULD ACTUALLY SOLVE THIS PROBLEM.

Rants: THAT'S NOT TRUE. DICK. YOU KNOW EARLIER THIS SESSION, REPUBLICANS SPOTTED THE PROBLEM EARLY ON. WE TRIED TO LEAD ON IT. WE SAID HERE'S A PROBLEM, WE SEE REVENUES ARE DECLINING, WE NEED TO ACT NOW TO AVOID A CRISIS. THAT'S WHY WE PASSED A DEAPPROPRIATIONS BILL. THE DEAPPROPRIATIONS BILL, WE DIDN'T GET HELP ON FROM THE DEMOCRATS AND, ULTIMATELY, THE GOVERNOR VETOED.

Borg: I THINK WE HAVE YOUR POINTS. MIKE?

Glover: REPRESENTATIVE RANTS, REPUBLICANS ARE STILL TALKING, ALTHOUGH ADMITTEDLY NOT AS LOUDLY, ABOUT TAX CUTS. HOW CAN YOU TALK ABOUT TAX CUTS WHEN THERE'S A $300 MILLION HOLE IN THE BUDGET?

Rants: REPUBLICANS ARE CONCERNED THAT IF WE DON'T DO ANYTHING, OUR ECONOMY IS NOT GOING TO START GROWING AGAIN. SOME OF THE THINGS THAT WE WOULD LIKE TO DO IN THE FUTURE, WE CAN SET IN PLACE NOW. FOR INSTANCE, IOWA SHOULD TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE FACT THAT WE HAVE TWO NAFTA CORRIDORS RUNNING THROUGH OUR STATE. THIS IS THE KIND OF PLACE WHERE WE OUGHT TO BE ESTABLISHING WAREHOUSING AND DISTRIBUTION CENTERS. IT'S SOMETHING THAT WOULDN'T COST THE STATE'S GENERAL FUND MONEY NOW, BUT WOULD LIKELY BRING IN INCREASED REVENUE WHEN THOSE CENTERS ARE DEVELOPED IN OUR STATE. NO IMPACT OF THE GENERAL FUND, BUT YOU HAVE TO MAKE A CHANGE IN OUR TAX CODE TO DO SOMETHING LIKE THAT.

Glover: REPRESENTATIVE MYERS, WHAT DO YOU SAY TO THE ARGUMENT THAT THE HEART OF THIS PROBLEM IS REALLY AN ECONOMY THAT'S GOTTEN SOFT AND LAWMAKERS OUGHT TO DO SOMETHING LIKE CUT TAXES TO STIMULATE IT?

Myers: WELL, WE'RE TALKING ABOUT $8- TO $10 MILLION, AND WE'VE GOT A $300 MILLION HOLE ACCORDING TO REPRESENTATIVE RANTS. WELL, MY GOODNESS, WHAT'S THAT GOING TO DO TO IT? TO ME, IT JUST EXACERBATES IT. I WANT TO GO BACK TO THE POINT FOR A MOMENT ABOUT WE KNEW ABOUT THIS PROBLEM. WELL, IF WE KNEW ABOUT THIS PROBLEM -- AND THIS IS WHAT I MEAN ABOUT MANAGEMENT AND LEADERSHIP ON THIS ISSUE IN THE FIRST PLACE -- IF WE KNEW ABOUT THIS PROBLEM, HOW COME IT TAKES US UNTIL TWO WEEKS BEFORE THE END OF THE SESSION -- OR THREE WEEKS, WHATEVER IT IS, TO EVEN LAY A PLAN ON THE TABLE? THIS ISN'T NEWS. I AGREE WITH REPRESENTATIVE RANTS, IT'S NOT A REVELATION. WE KNEW WE WERE IN TROUBLE, BUT IT'S TAKEN THAT LONG FOR THE MAJORITY PARTY OF THE LEGISLATURE TO LAY A BUDGET ON THE TABLE.

Rants: MR. MYERS IS AGAINST THE BUDGET WE LAID ON THE TABLE IN FEBRUARY.

Yepsen: ARE YOU WORRIED ABOUT THE LABEL OF BEING A BIG SPENDER? I MEAN THIS STATE HAS BEEN SPENDING MORE THAN IT COLLECTS IN REVENUES FOR SEVERAL YEARS NOW. YOU'VE CHEWED THROUGH THE ENDING BALANCE. NOW YOUR GOVERNOR IS PROPOSING TO CHEW INTO THE CASH RESERVE. I MEAN, I KNOW THERE ARE NEEDS OUT THERE, BUT AREN'T YOU WORRIED ABOUT A BIG-SPENDER LABEL?

Myers: WELL, IN THE FIRST PLACE, YOU USED THE PRONOUN "YOU."

Yepsen: I'M TALKING ABOUT DEMOCRATS.

Myers: YEAH, I KNOW YOU ARE BUT I ALSO KNOW THE REPUBLICANS HAVE BEEN IN CHARGE OF THIS LEGISLATURE AND MANAGING THAT FUND FOR THE PAST EIGHT YEARS, SO I THINK THERE'S A LITTLE RESPONSIBILITY HERE. I GET A KICK OUT OF THE FACT THAT THEY'RE BLAMING THE GOVERNOR WHO HAS WRITTEN ONE FULL BUDGET, NOW TWO -- THIS IS THE SECOND ONE HE'S WRITTEN -- YET AT THE SAME TIME, THE MAJORITY PARTY, THE REPUBLICANS, HAVE BEEN IN CHARGE. I THINK IF THERE'S A SPENDING PROBLEM, THEY'VE APPROPRIATED THE MONEY TO DO THAT.

Yepsen: MR. MYERS, CONGRESS IS GETTING READY TO CUT FEDERAL TAXES. BECAUSE OF FEDERAL DEDUCTABILITY, WHENEVER CONGRESS CUTS TAXES, STATE INCOME TAX REVENUES GO UP, YOU HAVE MORE INCOME THAT'S TAXABLE BY THE STATE. DO DEMOCRATS FEEL THAT THE WINDFALL SHOULD BE RETURNED TO THE TAXPAYER, OR DO YOU WANT TO SEE STATE GOVERNMENT KEEP THE WINDFALL AND SPEND IT?

Myers: WELL, FIRST OF ALL, I DON'T THINK THAT'S GOING TO HAPPEN RIGHT AWAY. THINK WE'RE GOING TO BE INTO NEXT SESSION BEFORE WE REALLY SEE THAT. YOU KNOW, IT'S KIND OF "SHOW ME THE MONEY."

Yepsen: IT WILL BE ON THE TAX BILLS WE FIGURE NEXT YEAR AT THIS TIME.

Myers: NEXT YEAR AT THIS TIME. WELL, THAT MEANS IT COMES INTO THE NEXT SESSION. I WANT TO SEE WHAT OUR REVENUE ESTIMATES ARE IN DECEMBER, AND I'M NOT SURE I WANT TO TRUST A LOT OF WASHINGTON POLITICIANS ABOUT WHAT THEY'RE GOING TO DO.

Yepsen: MR. RANTS, SHOULD THE WINDFALL BE RETURNED?

Rants: ONCE CONGRESS PASSES THE TAX BILL, ANY NEW REVENUES COMING INTO THE STATE BECAUSE OF FEDERAL DEDUCTABILITY SHOULD BE RETURNED TO THE TAXPAYERS, ABSOLUTELY.

Yepsen: MR. RANTS, I WANT TO GO BACK TO A BIG ISSUE, TEACHER PAY. YOU GUYS SAID AT THE START OF THIS SESSION, $40 MILLION. YOU'RE GOING TO HAVE A LOCK BOX. I THINK YOU BORROWED THAT FROM AL GORE. NOW WHAT'S HAPPENED? HAS IT GOT A LEAK IN IT? WHAT HAPPENED TO THE $40 MILLION PROMISE THAT YOU MADE TO TEACHERS?

Rants: WHAT HAPPENED, DAVID, WAS THE FACT THAT THE ECONOMY CHANGED. WHEN WE MADE THOSE ASSUMPTIONS THAT WE COULD PUT $40 MILLION TO IT, REVENUES WERE GOING TO COME IN AS WE THOUGHT. BUT THE ECONOMY SOURED AND THE FACT IS THAT REVENUES DROPPED AND THE REVENUE ESTIMATING CONFERENCE LOWERED THE REVENUES, SO YOU HAVE TO RESPOND TO THAT. WE HAVE TO DO WHAT EVERY FAMILY DOES OR EVERY BUSINESS OR EVERY FARMER. WHEN THE REVENUES AREN'T THERE, WE HAVE TO MAKE ADJUSTMENTS. NOW, I HAVEN'T GIVEN UP ON THE FACT THAT WE'RE GOING TO PUT MONEY TOWARD TEACHER SALARIES. WE'RE GOING TO MAKE A COMMITMENT TO THAT THIS YEAR, BUT WE NEED TO DO IT IN A WAY THAT KEEPS THE STATE BUDGET BALANCED THIS YEAR AND NEXT YEAR. MORE IMPORTANTLY, IT DOESN'T DO ANYONE ANY GOOD TO PUT MONEY TOWARD TEACHER SALARIES NOW AS A DOWN PAYMENT IF WE CAN'T AFFORD TO MAKE THE INSTALLMENT PAYMENT NEXT YEAR, AND WE WANT TO MAKE SURE THAT CAN BE DONE.

Yepsen: MR. MYERS, WHAT ABOUT THAT? WHEN THE REVENUES GO DOWN, DON'T YOU HAVE TO CHANGE YOUR PROMISES?

Myers: WELL, THE SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE, ABOUT TWO OR THREE MONTHS AGO, SAID THAT REGARDLESS OF WHAT HAPPENED TO THE BUDGET SITUATION, TO THE FINANCIAL SITUATION IN THIS STATE, THAT THE MAJORITY PARTY, THE REPUBLICAN PARTY, WAS COMMITTED TO THE $40 MILLION. HE SAID THAT. HE SAID THAT PRINTED SEVERAL TIMES, AS FAR AS I CAN TELL. WELL, I THINK THE REPUBLICANS HAVE RENEGED ON THEIR PROMISE, AND I HEAR ALL KINDS OF MACHINATIONS ABOUT MAYBE WE'RE GOING TO TAKE 78 PERCENT OF THIS OR THAT... 78 PERCENT OF 0 IS STILL 0. I'M NOT GOING TO HOLD MY BREATH FOR THE TEACHERS TO GET ANYTHING OUT OF THAT SO-CALLED LOCK BOX.

Glover: REPRESENTATIVE MYERS, YOU REPRESENT A COLLEGE TOWN.

Myers: YES.

Glover: ONE OF THE AGENCIES THAT'S TAKEN A BIG HIT IN THIS WHOLE BUDGET THING, FOR THE PAST SEVERAL YEARS REALLY, IS THE BOARD OF REGENTS SCHOOL. HAVE THE REGENTS JUST LOST THEIR POLITICAL CLOUT AT THE HILL?

Myers: I DON'T KNOW WHETHER THEY'VE LOST THEIR POLITICAL CLOUT, BUT I DO KNOW WE'RE PUTTING ENORMOUS PRESSURE ON FAMILIES TO SEND THEIR KIDS TO REGENTS INSTITUTIONS. MORE THAN THAT, NOT JUST EDUCATION, BUT I NOTE THAT WE HAVE ONE OF THE HIGHEST TUITIONS FOR COMMUNITY COLLEGES IN THIS STATE. YOU CAN'T GET A JOB LIKE YOU DID WALKING OUT OF HIGH SCHOOL WHEN I WAS A KID. YOU CAN'T GO TO WORK AT JOHN DEERE. YOU'VE GOT TO GO TO KIRKWOOD TO GET A JOB. YOU'VE GOT TO HAVE SOME SKILLS, AND WE HAVE MADE IT VERY DIFFICULT -- OR WE ARE ABOUT TO MAKE IT MORE DIFFICULT FOR PEOPLE TO SEND THEIR CHILDREN TO COMMUNITY COLLEGES.

Glover: WELL, ISN'T THE FLIP SIDE OF THAT ARGUMENT THAT THESE BUDGET CUTS ARE GOING TO FORCE REGENTS TUITION UP, ISN'T THE FLIP SIDE OF THAT ARGUMENT THAT, WELL, SHOULDN'T THEY GO UP? THEY'RE HISTORICALLY LOW COMPARED TO OTHER COLLEGES IN THE COUNTRY.

Myers: I WOULD POINT OUT THAT, FIRST OF ALL, THE REGENTS HAVE ALREADY SET THEIR BUDGETS AND ANYTHING WE DO THIS YEAR AS FAR AS TUITION WILL NOT HELP THIS YEAR'S SITUATION, AND THAT THE REGENTS HAVE STEPPED UP TO THE PLATE IN THE PAST TWO YEARS AND RAISED TUITIONS AND FEES... I KNOW AT THE UNIVERSITY OF IOWA, 20 PERCENT.

Glover: MR. RANTS, ARE YOU OUT TO GET THE REGENTS?

Rants: NO, WE'RE NOT OUT TO GET THE REGENTS, BUT IT IS IMPORTANT TO REMEMBER THAT THERE ARE OTHER COLLEGE TOWNS ACROSS IOWA. SIOUX CITY IS ONE OF THEM. WE'VE GOT TWO PRIVATE COLLEGES AND COMMUNITY COLLEGES. WE NEED TO MAKE SURE THAT THOSE COLLEGES RECEIVE SOME SUPPORT FROM THE STATE AS WELL AND NOT JUST PUT ALL OUR EGGS IN ONE BASKET.

Yepsen: MR. RANTS, WE'VE GOT JUST A FEW SECONDS LEFT, AND THERE ARE A LOT OF NONMONEY QUESTIONS AROUND, INCLUDING THE BOTTLE BILL. THERE'S BEEN A LOT OF TALK ABOUT CHANGING THE BOTTLE BILL. WILL THIS LEGISLATURE --

Rants: NOT THIS YEAR.

Yepsen: WHY NOT?

Rants: (A) THE BILL THAT CAME OUT OF THE ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION COMMITTEE, I DON'T THINK IT'S A PARTICULARLY GOOD ONE. I THINK IOWANS WOULD BE VERY DISAPPOINTED TO LEARN THAT IF THEY PAID THEIR DEPOSIT AT THE GROCERY STORE, THAT IF THEY PUT IT IN THE RECYCLING BIN, AS IN SOME CASES THEY WOULD HAVE TO IN SOME COMMUNITIES, THEY WOULDN'T GET THEIR NICKEL BACK. IN OTHER PLACES, THEY'D HAVE TO TAKE IT TO A CENTRALIZED RECYCLING CENTER. THAT'S NOT WHAT IOWANS WANT FOR A BOTTLE BILL.

Yepsen: MR. MYERS, WHAT'S YOUR READ ON THE BOTTLE BILL?

Myers: FIRST OF ALL, I WANT TO DO EVERYTHING I CAN TO PROTECT THAT BOTTLE BILL. I THINK THAT'S A GOOD LAW. IT'S BEEN IN PLACE FOR A LONG TIME, AND WE NEED TO MAKE SURE THAT WE DON'T LOSE THE EFFECT OF THAT LAW. CAN IT BE IMPROVED? SURE, I'M WILLING TO WORK ON THAT, BUT AT THE SAME TIME, I BELIEVE THAT BILL THAT CAME OUT WOULD HAVE BEEN A DISASTER FOR THE BOTTLE BILL.

Glover: REPRESENTATIVE RANTS, THERE WAS A LOT OF TALK IN THE LEGISLATURE THIS YEAR ABOUT APPROVING A LAW TO DECLARE ENGLISH THE STATE'S OFFICIAL LANGUAGE. THE HOUSE CAME UP WITH A COMPROMISE THAT TALKED ABOUT ENGLISH BEING GOOD AND IT'S IMPORTANT TO LEARN IT. WHAT'S GOING TO HAPPEN WITH THAT?

Rants: I DON'T KNOW THE ANSWER TO THAT. WE ARE GOING TO BE DISCUSSING THAT IN THE REPUBLICAN CAUCUS THIS COMING WEEK. I'VE GOT MEMBERS THAT ARE SPLIT. I'M NOT SURE THAT PASSING A LAW THAT JUST MAKES US FEEL GOOD WITHOUT REALLY DOING ANYTHING IS IN ANYBODY'S BEST INTEREST.

Glover: REPRESENTATIVE MYERS, WHAT'S THE POLITICS OF THAT BILL?

Myers: IT'S POLITICS, PERIOD. THAT'S EXACTLY WHAT IT WAS ABOUT. IT WAS ABOUT POLITICS. WE'VE BEEN PRINTING THINGS IN ENGLISH FOR 150 YEARS IN THIS STATE, AND I THINK ANY ACTION LIKE THIS IS PURELY DIVISIVE AND STRICTLY ABOUT POLITICS.

Glover: BUT DON'T YOU RUN A LITTLE RISK THERE? I MEAN I'VE SEEN POLLS THAT SHOW 70, 80 PERCENT OF IOWANS SUPPORT THAT LAW.

Myers: I ALSO KNOW THAT WE ARE DEPENDENT A GREAT DEAL ON EXPORT, THE INTERNATIONAL TRADE IN THIS STATE. IF WE HANG A SIGN ON US THAT SAYS "ENGLISH ONLY," WHAT DOES THAT SAY TO OUR TRADING PARTNERS? DOESN'T THAT SEND A SYMBOL THAT MAYBE THEY'RE NOT WELCOME HERE? I THINK IT'S TIME TO GET PAST THAT STUFF AND GET DOWN TO THE BUSINESS OF GOVERNING.

Borg: EXPLAIN THE POLITICS. WHAT DO YOU MEAN? WHO GETS THE ADVANTAGE OF ENGLISH ONLY? WHAT'S THE POLITICS OF IT?

Myers: WELL, IN THE FIRST PLACE, I BELIEVE IT'S UNNECESSARY. I THINK IT TELLS PEOPLE THAT MAYBE THEY'RE NOT WELCOME HERE.

Yepsen: MR. RANTS, ONE ISSUE THAT YOU'VE BEEN TALKING ABOUT UP THERE IS MAKING IT EASIER TO SITE UTILITY PLANTS.

Rants: CORRECT.

Yepsen: YOU'VE BEEN WARNED WE'RE RUNNING OUT OF RESERVE CAPACITY IN THIS STATE. WHAT'S YOUR GUESS? WILL THIS LEGISLATURE COME TO SOME RESOLUTION OF THAT OR NOT?

Rants: YES, WE PASSED IN THE HOUSE A COUPLE WEEKS AGO A BILL --

Yepsen: BUT IT'S BOGGED DOWN IN THE SENATE.

Rants: I'M NOT SURE THAT IT'S BOGGED DOWN IN THE SENATE, DAVID. I KNOW THAT WE'VE SEEN SOME NEW LANGUAGE FROM THE GOVERNOR'S OFFICE AND THE UTILITIES BOARD. I THINK THE SENATE WILL ATTACH THAT LANGUAGE AND SEND IT BACK TO THE HOUSE, AND I ANTICIPATE WE'LL PASS IT. IT'S IMPORTANT THAT WE DO THAT. IF WE DON'T ADDRESS THAT ISSUE NOW, WE WILL HAVE A CALIFORNIA IN THE FUTURE, AND THIS IS THE WAY TO AVOID IT.

Yepsen: MR. MYERS, HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT THIS COMPROMISE TALK THAT'S FLOATING AROUND? WILL THERE BE A BILL WHEN YOU'RE DONE?

Myers: YOU KNOW, THERE MAY BE A BILL. I'M HOPEFUL THERE WILL BE A BILL AND I'M HOPEFUL IT'S A BILL THAT I CAN SUPPORT AND THAT I CAN URGE MY CAUCUS MEMBERS TO SUPPORT. WE NEED TO BUILD PLANTS IN THIS STATE. I KNOW THAT, BUT I DO NOT WANT TO DEREGULATE IN THE PROCESS. I WANT TO BE SURE THAT CONSUMERS ARE PROTECTED. BUT AT THE SAME TIME, PROTECTING CONSUMERS IS ALSO A PART OF KEEPING AWAY FROM HAVING A CALIFORNIA-TYPE CRISIS. I WANT TO WORK ON GETTING A BILL.

Glover: REPRESENTATIVE RANTS, LET'S WRAP UP WHERE WE STARTED... REAPPORTIONMENT. VERY QUICKLY, WHAT ARE THE ODDS THIS PLAN WILL BE APPROVED?

Rants: I DON'T KNOW. I DON'T KNOW.

Glover: REPRESENTATIVE MYERS?

Myers: WHAT ARE THE ODDS? I'M NOT A BETTING MAN, BUT I WOULD LIKE TO SEE AN UNAMENDABLE PLAN PASSED.

Glover: IF YOU HAD TO BET ON IT, HOW MUCH WOULD YOU BET?

Myers: I'M NOT A BETTING MAN.

Glover: BETTER THAN 50/50? [LAUGHTER]

Borg: WE HAVE TO LEAVE IT AT THAT. THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR TAKING TIME TO BE WITH US TODAY. ON OUR NEXT EDITION OF IOWA PRESS, THE FOCUS IS ON EDUCATION. IT'S SAID TO BE THE TOP PRIORITY AT THE STATEHOUSE. JOINING US NEXT WEEK, SENATOR DON REDFERN. HE'S A REPUBLICAN FROM CEDAR FALLS. HE CHAIRS THE SENATE'S EDUCATION APPROPRIATION SUBCOMMITTEE... AND ALSO REPRESENTATIVE PHIL WISE. HE'S A DEMOCRAT FROM KEOKUK. HE'S THE RANKING MINORITY MEMBER OF THE EDUCATION COMMITTEE IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES. NEXT SUNDAY AT NOON AND 7:00. THAT'S IT FOR THIS WEEK'S EDITION OF IOWA PRESS. 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 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.