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Iowa Press #2912
November 23 and 25, 2001

Dean Borg: IOWA'S STATE GOVERNMENT IS STRUGGLING TO COPE WITH MAJOR SPENDING NEEDS WHILE, AT THE SAME TIME, TAX REVENUE TO PAY THE BILLS IS DECLINING. THE DAILY MANAGEMENT CHALLENGE FALLS ON IOWA'S CHIEF EXECUTIVE, GOVERNOR TOM VILSACK. AND HE'S OUR GUEST ON THIS EDITION OF "IOWA PRESS."

Narrator: FUNDING FOR "IOWA PRESS" WAS 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.

STATEWIDE IOWA PUBLIC TELEVISION IS CELEBRATING THE 30TH ANNIVERSARY OF "IOWA PRESS," NOW SERVING THE STATE AS IOWA'S LONGEST-RUNNING PUBLIC AFFAIRS PROGRAM. WITH THIS WEEK'S EDITION OF "IOWA PRESS," HERE IS DEAN BORG.

Borg: THERE'S A NEW BUDGET REALITY AT THE IOWA STATEHOUSE THESE DAYS. A SHORTFALL OF AT LEAST $158 MILLION IN WHAT HAD BEEN PROJECTED FOR THE STATE'S REVENUE STREAM HAS FORCED SIZABLE CUTS IN THE CURRENT STATE BUDGET. AND THE EFFECTS ARE REVERBERATING THROUGHOUT THE STATE GOVERNMENT, AND MORE ARE POSSIBLE. IN SOME AREAS, THAT NEW BUDGET REALITY IS FORCING A RESTRUCTURING OF IOWA GOVERNMENT, AND THAT'S ONE OF THE PRIORITIES OF GOVERNOR TOM VILSACK. GOVERNOR VILSACK, WELCOME BACK TO "IOWA PRESS."

Vilsack: NICE TO BE HERE.

Borg: AND ALSO HERE AT THE TABLE: "DES MOINES REGISTER" POLITICAL COLUMNIST DAVID YEPSEN, AND "KUNI PUBLIC RADIO" STATEHOUSE REPORTER JENEANE BECK.

Beck: GOVERNOR, THIS WEEK WE HAD A FIRE AT THE OLD CAPITOL IN IOWA CITY IN THE DOME, WHICH DESTROYED THE DOME. IS THIS ONE OF THOSE TIMES WHERE YOU DIP INTO THE STATE'S ECONOMIC EMERGENCY FUND TO FIX AN HISTORIC FIGURE OF IOWA?

Vilsack: WELL, IT IS A DEVASTATING LOSS FOR THE UNIVERSITY OF IOWA AND FOR THE ENTIRE STATE. I'VE BEEN TOLD THAT THERE IS INSURANCE COVERAGE THAT WILL TAKE CARE OF THE DAMAGE, AND WE'LL MAKE SURE THAT TAKES PLACE. IF THE INSURANCE DOES NOT COVER IT, I'M SURE THAT THERE WILL BE WAYS THAT WE'LL FIND TO BE ABLE TO PROVIDE THE RESOURCES. IT MAY NOT BE FROM THE "ECONOMIC EMERGENCY RESERVE" ACCOUNT. IT MAY BE FROM THE "REBUILD IOWA INFRASTRUCTURE" ACCOUNT. BUT THAT OLD CAPITOL IS A SYMBOL. IT'S A SYMBOL OF A GREAT UNIVERSITY. IT'S A SYMBOL OF OUR HISTORY AND OUR TRADITION, AND IT WILL BE REBUILT.

Yepsen: WELL, GOVERNOR THE UNIVERSITY HAS STARTED TO RAISE MONEY TO FIX IT. DO THEY REALLY NEED TO BE DOING THAT IF WE HAVE INSURANCE OR AN EMERGENCY FUND TO PAY FOR IT?

Vilsack: WELL, I THINK, FIRST OF ALL, THEY WANT TO MAKE SURE THAT THERE ARE ADEQUATE RESOURCES TO RECONSTRUCT THE DOME AND TO MAKE SURE THAT THAT BUILDING IS RESTORED TO ITS GREAT SPLENDOR. I BELIEVE THAT THERE PROBABLY WILL BE SUFFICIENT INSURANCE, BUT THERE MAY BE DEDUCTIBLES. I DON'T KNOW ALL OF THE DETAILS ABOUT THE INSURANCE POLICY OR THE COVERAGE. THERE MAY ALSO BE QUESTIONS ABOUT THE CAUSE OF THE FIRE AND WHETHER OR NOT THERE'S RESPONSIBILITY OR LIABILITY ON THE PART OF THOSE WHO WERE WORKING IN THE AREA. SO I'M SURE THAT THERE ARE A LOT OF UNANSWERED QUESTIONS. BUT THE BOTTOM LINE IS THAT WE'RE GOING TO REBUILD THAT CAPITOL.

Yepsen: CAN IOWANS WHO DONATE MONEY TO THAT FUND BE ASSURED THAT THE UNIVERSITY WILL IN FACT USE IT FOR RECONSTRUCTION OF THE OLD CAPITOL.

Vilsack: ABSOLUTELY.

Yepsen: AND NOT SOMETHING ELSE? I MEAN, THEY'VE BEEN ACCUSED OF THAT IN THE PAST.

Vilsack: ABSOLUTELY. IF YOU EARMARK AND RESTRICT YOUR GIFT TO THE RESTORATION OF THE CAPITOL, IT WILL BE USED BY THE UNIVERSITY FOR THAT PURPOSE AND THAT PURPOSE ONLY.

Borg: I WANT TO CONTINUE TALKING ABOUT MONEY HERE, BUT THE STATE'S BUDGET, AS I OPENED THE SHOW WITH. YOU'RE PRIVY TO INFORMATION BEFORE IT GOES TO ANYONE ELSE, I THINK, THROUGH YOUR DEPARTMENT OF MANAGEMENT. WHAT'S YOUR PROGNOSIS FOR THE IOWA ECONOMY AND FOR THE STATE REVENUES NEXT YEAR?

Vilsack: DEAN, IN THE SHORT TERM, WE'LL STILL CONTINUE TO STRUGGLE AS PART OF THE NATIONAL ECONOMY THAT'S STILL STRUGGLING REELING FROM THE EVENTS OF SEPTEMBER 11 AND A WEAKENING ECONOMY BEFORE THAT. I THINK IN THE LONGER TERM, WE'RE GOING TO BE IN GOOD SHAPE. I THINK OUR MANUFACTURING ECONOMY IS GOING TO REBOUND. I THINK THE STEPS THAT WE'RE TAKING NOW TO IMPROVE STATE GOVERNMENT WILL HELP MAKE US AN EVEN MORE EFFICIENT AND MORE EFFECTIVE GOVERNMENT IN THE FUTURE. SO I THINK OUR LONG-TERM PROGNOSIS IS GOOD. WE'RE STILL GOING TO HAVE TO HAVE SOME DIFFICULT CHOICES AND DECISIONS THAT HAVE TO BE MADE. BUT I THINK WE'RE WORKING IN A BIPARTISAN WAY, AND I THINK THAT'S A POSITIVE SIGN.

Borg: THERE WILL BE A LAG TIME, THEN, BETWEEN THE TIME THAT THE ECONOMY IMPROVES, IF AND WHEN IT DOES, AND THE TIME THAT THE STATE REVENUES BEGIN TO INCREASE?

Vilsack: I THINK THAT'S PROBABLY TRUE. IT'S AN INTERESTING DYNAMIC. OUR PERSONAL INCOME, THE MONEY FROM PERSONAL INCOME TAX, IS STILL UP A BIT FROM LAST YEAR. OUR SALES TAX IS STAGNANT AND IT'S OUR CORPORATE PROFITS AND CORPORATE REVENUES THAT HAVE DECLINED RATHER DRAMATICALLY. OUR HOPE IS THAT, AS CORPORATIONS REDUCE THEIR INVENTORIES, AS THE ECONOMY BEGINS TO PICK UP, HOPEFULLY WE'LL SEE A CHANGE IN THAT.

Beck: GOVERNOR, STATEHOUSE REPUBLICANS HAVE UNVEILED AN ECONOMIC STIMULUS PACKAGE THAT INCLUDES SOME TAX CUTS FOR SMALL BUSINESSES. IT ALSO INCLUDES A VENTURE CAPITAL FUND, SOME TAX CUTS ON STOCK OPTIONS. IS THIS SOMETHING YOU CAN SUPPORT?

Vilsack: YOU KNOW, JENEANE, THIS ECONOMIC STIMULUS IS REALLY ABOUT A SERIES OF TIME PERIODS. CANDIDLY, WHAT THE REPUBLICANS HAVE PROPOSED IS NOT ABOUT THE SHORT TERM; IT'S ABOUT A MUCH MORE LONG-TERM VIEW. AND MANY OF THE ITEMS THAT THEY'VE PROPOSED, WE'VE TALKED ABOUT JOINTLY AND PRIVATELY. CERTAINLY, THE STATE NEEDS A STRONG COMMITMENT TO VENTURE CAPITAL. I AM PLEASED THAT REPUBLICAN LEADERS HAVE RECOGNIZED THAT YOU NOT ONLY HAVE TO HELP INSTITUTIONAL INVESTORS PROMOTE VENTURE CAPITAL, BUT YOU ALSO HAVE TO FOCUS ON INDIVIDUAL INVESTORS. THAT'S THE LONG TERM. BUT THE SHORT TERM ALSO HAS TO BE ADDRESSED. AND CANDIDLY, WHAT WE NEED IN ORDER TO STIMULATE THIS ECONOMY IS A BIPARTISAN ACTION ON THE PART OF OUR CONGRESS AND THE ADMINISTRATION TO GET THE STIMULUS PACKAGE THAT'S BEEN DISCUSSED IN CONGRESS FOR MONTHS PAST. LET'S GET IT DONE. AND LET'S MAKE SURE THAT IT INCLUDES NOT ONLY OPPORTUNITIES FOR BUSINESSES TO GROW, BUT RECOGNIZING THE CURRENT SITUATION. THERE ARE PEOPLE WHO ARE UNEMPLOYED. THERE ARE PEOPLE WHO ARE CONCERNED ABOUT THEIR HEALTH CARE SITUATION. LET'S MAKE SURE THAT WE STIMULATE THE ECONOMY IN A BALANCED WAY. AND FINALLY, I THINK WE HAVE TO REMEMBER THAT AS MUCH VENTURE CAPITAL AS WE CREATE IN THIS STATE, WE ALSO HAVE TO HAVE THE HUMAN CAPITAL TO BE ABLE TO REALIZE THE PROFITS FROM THE VENTURE CAPITAL ACTIVITIES. AND THAT'S IMPORTANT IN TERMS OF OUR STATE'S ABILITY TO RETAIN OUR COLLEGE EDUCATED-YOUNG PEOPLE. THAT'S WHY WE PROPOSED A TAX CREDIT FOR TUITION AS A WAY OF INSENTING AND ENCOURAGING THE GROWTH, NOT ONLY OF VENTURE CAPITAL, FINANCIAL CAPITAL, BUT ALSO HUMAN CAPITAL. YOU NEED BOTH.

Beck: SPEAKING OF HUMAN CAPITAL, THERE HAS BEEN SOME DISCUSSION THAT YOU MIGHT WANT TO RAISE THE MINIMUM WAGE FOR THOSE WORKERS. YES? DO YOU WANT TO DO THAT? AND IF SO, ARE YOU CONCERNED THAT WILL HURT SMALL BUSINESSES THAT SOMETIMES FEEL THEY CAN'T AFFORD A HIGHER MINIMUM WAGE?

Vilsack: WELL, THE FACT IS THAT THE STATE HAD A HIGHER MINIMUM WAGE IN THE 1980S, AND IT DID NOT IMPACT NEGATIVELY SMALL BUSINESSES. HERE'S THE PROBLEM THAT WE HAVE. THE MINIMUM WAGE TODAY IS $5.15, AND ITS BUYING POWER IS LESS THAN IT WAS IN 1980. OVER 100,000 IOWA WORKERS ARE CURRENTLY MAKING THE MINIMUM WAGE. MANY OF THEM ARE WOMEN AND MANY OF THOSE WOMEN ARE RAISING CHILDREN IN SINGLE FAMILIES. MANY OF THESE WOMEN ARE NOW REQUIRED TO APPLY FOR FOOD STAMPS AND OTHER PUBLIC ASSISTANCE BENEFITS AT A TIME WHEN OUR BUDGETS ARE STRUGGLING. THE REALITY IS THAT WE CAN PROVIDE A GREATER DIGNITY FOR A FULL WORK WEEK. WE CAN RECOGNIZE THE IMPORTANCE OF THE WORK THAT FOLKS ARE DOING. YOU CAN'T FORGET ABOUT THE FOLKS AT THE BOTTOM END OF THE SCALE HERE. YOU HAVE TO NOT ONLY PROVIDE OPPORTUNITIES FOR INVESTORS, NOT ONLY OPPORTUNITIES FOR COLLEGE-EDUCATED FOLKS, BUT YOU ALSO HAVE TO RECOGNIZE THAT THERE ARE PEOPLE STRUGGLING AT THE BOTTOM. AND THE MINIMUM WAGE, THAT'S WHAT THAT'S ALL ABOUT.

Yepsen: WELL, GOVERNOR, DO WE HAVE THE MAKINGS OF A GOOD OLD-FASHIONED BIPARTISAN AGREEMENT HERE, WHERE YOU'RE GOING TO GO ALONG WITH THEIR IDEAS ON VENTURE CAPITAL AND THEY'RE GOING TO GO ALONG WITH YOURS; YOU'RE GOING TO GO ALONG WITH THEM ON CAPITAL GAINS AND THEY GO ALONG WITH YOU ON MINIMUM WAGE. ISN'T THAT THE SHAPE OF THIS THING THAT'S SHAPING UP?

Vilsack: WELL, CERTAINLY THERE'S BEEN A LOT OF BIPARTISAN DISCUSSIONS, AND I THINK THERE IS A CONSENSUS THAT WE NEED TO DO SOMETHING ON VENTURE CAPITAL. I THINK THAT WE STILL HAVE DISCUSSIONS ABOUT THE TUITION TAX CREDIT, THE MINIMUM WAGE, AND THE CAPITAL GAINS ISSUES. BUT THE POINT IS THAT PEOPLE ARE WILLING TO SIT DOWN AND TALK AND THEY'RE WILLING TO LISTEN. THIS IS SIGNIFICANTLY DIFFERENT THAN JUST A COUPLE MONTHS AGO, AND IT'S A VERY POSITIVE THING FOR IOWA.

Yepsen: GOVERNOR, DURING THE CAMPAIGN OF '98, YOU PROMISED NOT TO RAISE TAXES.

Vilsack: YES.

Yepsen: HOW LONG IS THAT PROMISE GOOD FOR?

Vilsack: WELL, I'M ELECTED FOR FOUR YEARS; IT'S GOOD FOR FOUR YEARS. AND THEN IF THERE'S ANOTHER CAMPAIGN, AT THAT POINT AND TIME WE'LL HAVE TO TALK ABOUT THE SITUATION. BUT FRANKLY, I'M NOT INTERESTED IN RAISING TAXES, DAVID, NOW OR IN THE FUTURE. I'M INTERESTED IN TAKING AN OPPORTUNITY THAT THIS VERY CHALLENGING TIME PRESENTS TO REALLY LOOK AT HOW WE GOVERN AND THE PROCESSES OF GOVERNMENT, HOW WE DELIVER SERVICES, AND SEE IF THERE ARE WAYS IN WHICH WE CAN IMPROVE THOSE FUNCTIONS. I DON'T THINK RAISING TAXES IS THE SOLUTION. FRANKLY, IN A SLOWING, DECLINING ECONOMY, THAT'S THE WORST THING THAT YOU CAN DO. SO I'M NOT IN FAVOR OF RAISING TAXES.

Yepsen: SOME PEOPLE HAVE SUGGESTED YOU ONCE TRIED TO DIP INTO THE STATE'S EMERGENCY FUND TO TAKE CARE OF SOME OF THESE SHORT-TERM PROBLEMS. WILL YOU ASK THE LEGISLATURE AGAIN IN YOUR BUDGET MESSAGE IN JANUARY TO DIP INTO THE EMERGENCY FUND?

Vilsack: AS I'VE BEEN TRAVELING AROUND THE STATE, ONE OF THE THINGS THAT'S IMPRESSED ME IS THE SIGNIFICANT CHANGE OF THE TENOR AND STORIES THAT PEOPLE ARE TELLING ME AS I GO TO TOWN MEETINGS. AS YOU MAY KNOW, I'VE BEEN INVOLVED IN TOURING ALL 99 COUNTIES THIS YEAR, AND IT'S A VERY INTERESTING EXERCISE. WHEN WE STARTED THE YEAR, THERE WERE DISCUSSIONS ABOUT GAS PRICES AND HEATING BILLS. TODAY THERE ARE SINGLE MOMS COMING UP AND SAYING, "YOU'RE CUTTING OFF OPPORTUNITIES PRESENTED TO ME TO GET AN EDUCATION. WHY ARE -- WHY IS THE STATE GOVERNMENT NOT PROVIDING ASSISTANCE FOR ME TO BE ABLE TO COMPLETE MY EDUCATION SO I CAN BE GAINFULLY EMPLOYED?" THESE PEOPLE ARE SPEAKING TO THEIR LEGISLATORS. AND I DON'T RATHER THE LEGISLATURE'S ATTITUDE ABOUT THE RAINY DAY FUND OR THE EMERGENCY ECONOMIC RESERVE FUND IS GOING TO BE DIFFERENT THAN IT WAS IN THE SPRING. WE'RE FOCUSED NOW ON TRYING TO FIGURE OUT WAYS IN WHICH WE CAN IMPROVE GOVERNMENT SERVICES. WE'RE TRYING TO FOCUS ON WAYS IN WHICH WE CAN BE INNOVATIVE AND CREATIVE, AND THAT'S WHERE THE FOCUS AND ATTENTION IS AT THIS TIME.

Yepsen: OKAY BUT WILL YOU -- WILL YOU DIP PROPOSE DIPPING INTO THE EMERGENCY FUND?

Vilsack: WELL, AT THIS POINT IN TIME, I'M NOT GOING TO SAY ONE WAY OR THE OTHER ON THAT. HERE'S WHY. I CAN'T TELL YOU THAT BECAUSE I DON'T KNOW WHAT THE REVENUE ESTIMATING CONFERENCE IS LIABLE TO SAY IN DECEMBER. OUR FOCUS HAS NOT BEEN IN ON DIPPING INTO THE RAINY DAY FUND. OUR FOCUS HAS BEEN ON TRYING TO FIGURE OUT WAYS IN WHICH WE CAN IMPROVE GOVERNMENT, AND THAT'S GOING TO CONTINUE TO BE OUR FOCUS.

Yepsen: THE REPUBLICAN CANDIDATES FOR GOVERNOR ARE SAYING, "YOU'RE THE GOVERNOR THAT GOT US INTO THIS FINANCIAL MESS. WHY SHOULD WE TRUST YOU TO GET US OUT OF IT?" WHAT'S YOUR ANSWER TO THAT?

Vilsack: FIRST OF ALL, YOU HAVE TO TAKE A LOOK AT WHERE THE STATE IS RELATIVE TO OTHER STATES. "GOVERNING MAGAZINE" HAS RANKED OUR FISCAL MANAGEMENT AS A "B+," UP FROM GOVERNOR BRANSTAD'S RANKING OF A "B." WE'RE IN THE TOP 11 STATES IN TERMS OF FISCAL MANAGEMENT. STANDARD & POORS AND MOODY'S HAS RATED OUR FISCAL MANAGEMENT OF STATE GOVERNMENT AS EXCELLENT AND STABLE AND SECURE, WHICH IS WHY OUR VISION IOWA BONDS RECEIVE SUCH A HIGH RATING. THE CANDID RESPONSE IS THAT WE ARE IN BETTER SHAPE THAN MANY, MANY OTHER STATES. WE'VE NOT RAISED TAXES. WE HAVE LOOKED FOR WAYS TO EFFECTIVELY REDUCE SPENDING IN GOVERNMENT, AND WE'RE STILL TRYING TO MEET THE PRIORITIES OF PEOPLE. YOU KNOW, I AM SO EXCITED ABOUT WHAT'S HAPPENED IN EDUCATION. FOURTH GRADE TESTING SCORES, FOR THE FIRST TIME IN A DECADE, ON READING HAVE GONE UP. THEY HAVEN'T DECLINED BECAUSE WE'VE FOCUSED ON REDUCING CLASS SIZES. IN ADDITION, OUR MATH AND SCIENCE SCORES ARE AMONG THE TOP IN THE COUNTRY FOR FOURTH GRADERS. THIS IS AN INDICATION THAT WHAT WE'RE DOING IS WORKING. WE'VE GOT MORE YOUNGSTERS INSURED FOR HEALTH INSURANCE PURPOSES... 30,000 YOUNGSTERS. SO WHEN WE FOCUS ON PROBLEMS, WE SOLVE THEM. NOW IT'S TIME TO FOCUS ATTENTION ON STIMULATING THE ECONOMY. AND I THINK WE'VE GOT THE MAKINGS OF SOME VERY INNOVATIVE AND CREATIVE WAYS TO STIMULATE THE ECONOMY. SO I'M EXCITED ABOUT THE FUTURE OF THE STATE. AND I THINK, GIVEN WHAT WE'VE HAD TO DEAL WITH: THREE YEARS OF VERY LOW REVENUES, THE LOWEST IN 35 YEARS; WE'VE LEVERAGED ADDITIONAL MONEY; WE'RE LOOKING FOR OPPORTUNITIES TO SECURE MORE RESOURCES FROM THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT TO HELP US. I THINK THAT WE'VE MOVED THIS PROCESS FORWARD, AND WE CERTAINLY HAVE FOCUSED ON THE PEOPLE'S PRIORITIES.

Beck: GOVERNOR, YOU MENTIONED NOT WANTING TO RAISE TAXES AND A PROMISE NOT TO DO SO. HOWEVER, IN THE CUTTING OF SCHOOL FUNDING BECAUSE OF THE FINANCIAL CONSTRAINTS THE STATE WAS UNDER, IN SOME CASES, LOCAL SCHOOL DISTRICTS MAY RAISE PROPERTY TAXES AS A RESULT. IS THERE A TIME WHEN YOU HAVE TO DECIDE -- PROPERTY TAXES ARE VERY UNPOPULAR -- THAT YOU WANT TO RAISE THE STATE SALES TAX JUST TO STOP HAVING TO HAVE LOCAL COMMUNITIES RAISE PROPERTY TAXES?

Vilsack: WELL, JENEANE, FRANKLY, I THINK, FIRST OF ALL, SCHOOL DISTRICTS HAVE A COUPLE OF OPTIONS OTHER THAN RAISING PROPERTY TAXES. SCHOOLS COLLECTIVELY HAVE A LITTLE MORE IN RESERVE THAN THE STATE OF IOWA HAS. IT'S ABOUT $413 MILLION IN RESERVE, SO SCHOOLS HAVE OPTIONS THAT THEY DON'T NECESSARILY HAVE TO RAISE PROPERTY TAXES. SECONDLY, TO YOUR QUESTION, WE JUST COMPLETED A TAX EXPENDITURE STUDY FROM THE DEPARTMENT OF REVENUE AND FINANCE TO TRY TO QUANTIFY THE AMOUNT OF TAX CREDITS, EXEMPTIONS, SPECIAL BREAKS THAT WE'VE PROVIDED TO FOLKS, HOW MUCH COLLECTIVELY THAT MEANS TO STATE REVENUE. AND WHAT WE FOUND WAS THAT, COLLECTIVELY, IT'S ABOUT $4.3 BILLION IN EXEMPTIONS. OUR PROPERTY TAX SYSTEM IS A MESS. I THINK IT IS TIME FOR US TO DO A VERY DETAILED STUDY OF THE APPROPRIATE BALANCE BETWEEN PROPERTY SALES AND INCOME TAX, AND INCLUDE IN THAT MIX WHETHER OR NOT WE'VE MADE THE RIGHT DECISIONS IN THE PAST ABOUT CERTAIN EXEMPTIONS AND CREDITS. I THINK WE NEED TO FOCUS ON TRYING TO DEVELOP STRATEGIES FOR REDUCING PROPERTY TAXES, AND ONE WAY COULD BE TO ASK THE QUESTION WHAT SHOULD PROPERTY TAX PAY FOR, WHAT SHOULD SALES TAX AND INCOME TAX PAY FOR, AND WHETHER THE DECISIONS WE'VE MADE IN THE PAST ABOUT EXEMPTING CERTAIN ASPECTS OR CERTAIN ACTIVITIES ARE APPROPRIATE. THAT OUGHT TO BE PART OF THE DISCUSSION BEFORE YOU BEGIN TALKING ABOUT RAISING TAXES.

Yepsen: WELL, GOVERNOR, ONE WAY TO LOWER PROPERTY TAXES IS TO MAKE LOCAL GOVERNMENTS MORE EFFICIENT. YOU DON'T LEVY A PROPERTY TAX AT THE STATE LEVEL. THAT'S ALL DONE AT THE LOCAL LEVEL. DO YOU SEE ANY NEED FOR LEGISLATION TO EITHER ENCOURAGE OR FORCE MERGERS OF COUNTIES, MERGERS OF SCHOOLS, CITY EFFICIENCIES? WE'VE GOT 99 COUNTIES, 371 SCHOOL DISTRICTS, 950 CITIES. ISN'T THAT WHY PROPERTY TAXES ARE SO HIGH, AND WHAT DO WE DO ABOUT IT? WHAT DO YOU PROPOSE TO DO ABOUT IT?

Vilsack: WELL, I'M NOT SURE THAT THE ONLY REASON FOR PROPERTY TAXES IS TO SUPPORT THE INFRASTRUCTURE OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT. I THINK THAT THERE ARE SERVICES THAT THOSE LOCAL GOVERNMENTS ARE PROVIDING THAT RESULT IN EXPENDITURE OF MONEYS: ROADS, MENTAL HEALTH COSTS, ET CETERA. I THINK SEVERAL STEPS HAVE BEEN TAKEN THAT WILL RESULT IN A REDUCED NUMBER OF SCHOOL DISTRICTS. THE FACT IS THE LEGISLATURE PASSED THE REMOVAL OF THE BUDGET GUARANTEE OVER A PERIOD OF TIME. WHEN YOU REMOVE THAT BUDGET GUARANTEE, YOU WILL EVENTUALLY FORCE SCHOOLS TO TAKE INTO CONSIDERATION WHAT'S BEST FOR THE STUDENTS. CANDIDLY, DISCUSSIONS ABOUT CONSOLIDATION SHOULDN'T NECESSARILY BE MADE ON THE BASIS OF FINANCES. THEY SHOULD BE MADE ON THE BASIS ON WHAT'S BEST FOR THE CHILDREN AND FOR THEIR EDUCATION. WE KNOW FROM RESEARCH THAT YOU CAN HAVE SCHOOLS THAT ARE TOO BIG AND SCHOOLS THAT ARE TOO SMALL. AND HOPEFULLY, OVER TIME, AS FOLKS BEGIN TO STUDY THAT RESEARCH, THEY'LL MAKE THE RIGHT DECISION IN TERMS OF REDUCING THE NUMBER OF SCHOOL DISTRICTS. ON THE STATUS OF COUNTIES, THERE ARE TWO WAYS THAT YOU CAN APPROACH THIS. YOU COULD EITHER APPROACH IT BY WAY OF REDUCING THE NUMBER OF COUNTIES, OR YOU CAN FIGURE OUT WAYS IN WHICH YOU CAN PROVIDE MORE OPPORTUNITY AND RESPONSIBILITY FOR THOSE LOCAL GOVERNMENTS SO THAT THEY CAN BASICALLY CARRY THEIR WEIGHT. ONE OF THE THINGS THAT WE'VE PROPOSED AND SUGGESTED IS THAT THE COUNTIES TAKE A GREATER ROLE AND A GREATER RESPONSIBILITY AND HAVE MORE FLEXIBILITY IN THE DELIVERY OF MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES, IN CONNECTION WITH OUR REORGANIZATION OF THE DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN SERVICES. SO I THINK THERE ARE A NUMBER OF STRATEGIES THAT ARE CURRENTLY IN PLACE THAT WILL RESULT IN EITHER MORE EFFICIENTLY USING THE INFRASTRUCTURE THAT WE HAVE OR RESULTING IN FEWER UNITS.

Beck: GOVERNOR, WE WANT TO MOVE TO SOME OF THE ISSUES THAT MAY COME UP IN THE NEXT LEGISLATIVE SESSION, ONE OF THOSE BEING TEACHER PAY. LAST SESSION YOU AND THE LEGISLATURE APPROVED $40 MILLION FOR A NEW TEACHER COMPENSATION PROGRAM, BUT YOU BORROWED THAT MONEY FROM THE TOBACCO FUND. DO YOU HAVE ANOTHER $40 MILLION TO KEEP THAT PROGRAM GOING? DO YOU HAVE TO REDUCE FUNDING? THE ORIGINAL INTENTION WAS TO INCREASE IT IN THE NEXT YEAR, BUT IS THAT LIKELY?

Vilsack: WELL, WE ARE GOING TO DO EVERYTHING WE CAN TO STAY THE COURSE WITH REFERENCE TO TEACHER COMPENSATION. AS I ALLUDED TO EARLIER, WE'VE HAD SUCCESS WITH OUR CLASS-SIZE REDUCTION PROGRAM. WE'RE NOW BEGINNING TO SEE THE RESULTS OF THAT. WE'RE CONVINCED THAT WE'VE GOT TO CONTINUE TO RETAIN AND RECRUIT QUALITY TEACHERS. WE'VE GOT TO RESPECT THEM. WE'VE GOT A SYSTEM IN PLACE THAT, IF GIVEN THE TIME AND GIVEN ADEQUATE SUPPORT, WILL WORK, TO DO ALL THREE OF THOSE THINGS. IT WILL HELP US RECRUIT TEACHERS; IT WILL HELP US RETAIN TEACHERS; AND IT WILL HELP US INDICATE THE LEVEL OF RESPECT THAT'S APPROPRIATE. THAT IS THE CORE OF WHAT WE DO IN STATE GOVERNMENT. EDUCATION IS THE CORE. AND THE FACT IS THAT PEOPLE OF THIS STATE EXPECT US TO MAINTAIN THE QUALITY OF THE EDUCATION SYSTEM, AND WE HAVE IMPROVED ON THAT QUALITY. AND IN ORDER TO DO THAT, WE'RE GOING TO HAVE TO CONTINUE TO STAY THE COURSE. SO WE'RE GOING TO --

Beck: IS THAT 40 MILLION, THEN? I MEAN, CAN YOU STAY AT 40 MILLION?

Vilsack: WELL, IT'S HARD TO ANSWER THAT QUESTION BECAUSE I DON'T KNOW WHAT THE REVENUE ESTIMATING CONFERENCE IS GOING TO SAY IN DECEMBER. BUT IT'S OUR INTENTION TO NOT ONLY TAKE CARE OF THE 40 MILLION BUT TO LOOK FOR WAYS IN WHICH WE CAN INCREASE OUR SUPPORT FOR THAT PROGRAM.

Borg: WHAT ABOUT SUPPORT FOR STATE UNIVERSITIES? THEY'RE JUST RAISING NOW ANOTHER 19 PERCENT IN TUITIONS? IS THAT LIKELY TO INCREASE? IS IT GOING TO HAVE TO? SENATOR GRONSTAL, ON THIS PROGRAM A WEEK AGO, WAS LAMENTING THE FACT THAT COMMUNITY COLLEGE TUITIONS ARE THE HIGHEST IN THE NATION. SO STATE UNIVERSITY AND COMMUNITY COLLEGE, WHAT DO YOU THINK?

Vilsack: WELL, FIRST OF ALL, THE STATE'S INVESTMENT IN HIGHER EDUCATION IS AMONG ONE OF THE BEST IN THE COUNTRY. WE RANK FIFTH OR SIXTH IN THE COUNTRY IN TERMS OF OUR SUPPORT FOR HIGHER EDUCATION. THOSE STUDENTS WHO ARE ATTENDING REGENTS UNIVERSITIES, RECEIVE SOMEWHERE IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD OF ABOUT $11,000 TO $11,500 WORTH OF STATE INVESTMENT. AND THAT DOESN'T INCLUDE THE INFRASTRUCTURE MONIES THAT WE PROVIDE. CLEARLY, THE REGENTS MADE THE DECISION THAT THE 19-PERCENT INCREASE IN TUITION WAS NECESSARY IN ORDER TO MAINTAIN THE QUALITY AND TO ENHANCE THE QUALITY OF THAT UNIVERSITY. AND CANDIDLY, THE YOUNGSTERS WHO ARE PAYING THAT TUITION WILL BE REPAID MANY TIMES OVER BECAUSE OF THE QUALITY EDUCATION THEY RECEIVE.

Borg: YOU TALK TO THE REGENTS. ARE YOU GOING TO SAY LAY OFF THIS TUITION INCREASE, NOW, FOR A YEAR OR SO?

Vilsack: WELL, I THINK THE REGENTS ARE CHARGED WITH MAINTAINING THE QUALITY OF THE UNIVERSITIES. I THINK THAT IS ABSOLUTELY ESSENTIAL. DEAN, I THINK YOU HAVE TO TAKE A LOOK AT WHAT THE MARKET IS SAYING ABOUT THE COST OF EDUCATION IN IOWA. THE UNIVERSITY OF -- IOWA STATE UNIVERSITY RAISED THEIR TUITION LAST YEAR BY 9 PERCENT. THE EXPECTATION WAS THAT THEY WOULD HAVE FEWER STUDENTS AS A RESULT. INDEED, THERE WERE 985 MORE STUDENTS GOING TO THAT UNIVERSITY THIS YEAR THAN THE PREVIOUS YEAR. SO THE MARKET IS TELLING US, AT LEAST UP TO THIS POINT, THAT WE'RE STILL ADEQUATELY AND REASONABLY PRICING THE PRODUCT. AND WE'RE GOING TO HAVE TO TAKE A LOOK AND SEE WHAT THIS HUGE INCREASE DOES IN TERMS OF THE NUMBERS. BUT STILL, THE UNIVERSITY OF IOWA, WITH THAT HUGE INCREASE, IS STILL ON THE BOTTOM OF THE BIG TEN IN TERMS OF TUITIONS. YOU HAVE TO REMEMBER THIS IS AN INVESTMENT. YOUNGSTERS WILL BE REPAID MANY, MANY TIMES OVER FOR THIS INVESTMENT, AND THE STATE RECOGNIZES THAT THESE YOUNGSTERS ARE GOING TO HAVE TO SACRIFICE IN ORDER TO GET THIS EDUCATION, WHICH IS WHY WE PROPOSED THE TAX TUITION CREDIT, TO HELP THEM IF THEY STAY IN IOWA. IT IS CRITICAL -- IT IS CRITICAL TO THE FUTURE OF THIS STATE THAT WE NOT ONLY ADDRESS THE VENTURE CAPITAL NEEDS, THE FINANCIAL CAPITAL NEEDS FOR SMALL BUSINESSES AND ENTREPRENEURSHIP, BUT THE BRAIN DRAIN.

Borg: BUT DOES THE COMMUNITY COLLEGE TUITION, BEING AMONG THE HIGHEST IN THE NATION, IF NOT THE HIGHEST, WORRY YOU?

Vilsack: IT ALWAYS WORRIES YOU IF YOU'RE PRICING PEOPLE OUT OF AN EDUCATION. BUT UP TO THIS POINT IN TIME, WE'VE NOT SEEN THAT IN ENROLLMENT FIGURES. THEY CONTINUE TO INCREASE.

Yepsen: GOVERNOR, ANOTHER ISSUE CONFRONTING YOU AND THE REST OF THE COUNTRY IS HOMELAND SECURITY. THE SPECIAL SESSION OF THE LEGISLATURE APPROVED A NUMBER OF MEASURES TO HELP DEAL WITH THIS PROBLEM. DO YOU SEE ANY NEED FOR ADDITIONAL LEGISLATION IN THE COMING LEGISLATIVE SESSION, OR DO YOU HAVE ALL THE TOOLS IN THE TOOLBOX THAT YOU NEED?

Vilsack: WELL, THERE'S CURRENTLY DISCUSSION, DAVID, ABOUT THE DEGREE TO WHICH -- WELL, LET ME BACK UP. FIRST OF ALL, WE'RE DOING AN INVENTORY OF ALL AREAS, SITES, LOCATIONS IN THE STATE WHERE WE THINK POTENTIALLY WE MIGHT BE EXPOSED TO A TERRORIST THREAT. WE THINK IT'S UNLIKELY TO OCCUR IN IOWA, BUT WE WANT TO BE PREPARED. THAT INVENTORY IS PROBABLY GOING TO IDENTIFY SOMEWHERE IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD OF 6,000 LOCATIONS. OF THE 6,000, PROBABLY 10 PERCENT, AROUND 600, ARE REALLY AREAS THAT WE NEED TO FOCUS ON. WE'RE GOING TO TAKE A LOOK AT THOSE AREAS, AND WE'RE GOING TO LOOK AT THE SECURITY PLANS IN PLACE. AND IF THERE ARE HOLES OR PROBLEMS WITH THEIR SECURITY PLANS, WE'RE GOING TO TRY TO BEEF THEM UP. NOW, THE LEGISLATURE MAY BE ASKED -- I DON'T KNOW THIS -- BUT THEY MAY BE ASKED FOR ADDITIONAL RESOURCES TO ALLOW US TO CONTINUE THAT PROCESS. WE ARE CURRENTLY HAVING A DISCUSSION ABOUT THE BALANCE BETWEEN THE PUBLIC'S RIGHT TO KNOW, WHICH IS VERY IMPORTANT, AND THE PUBLIC'S RIGHT TO BE SECURE, WHICH IS VERY IMPORTANT. AND WE'RE IN THE PROCESS OF TRYING TO DETERMINE WHETHER OR NOT THERE'S ANY LEGISLATION THAT'S NECESSARY IN ORDER TO PROTECT INFORMATION CONCERNING THOSE SECURITY PLANS.

Beck: ANOTHER ISSUE THAT YOU'LL BE FACING OR THAT YOU FACE EVERY YEAR, IT SEEMS, IS LARGE-SCALE CONFINEMENT -- ANIMAL CONFINEMENT OPERATIONS. YOU'VE ADVOCATED FOR LOCAL CONTROL. THE LEGISLATURE, WHICH IS CONTROLLED BY THE REPUBLICANS, IS NOT WILLING TO GIVE THAT AT THIS POINT. IS THERE SOMETHING ELSE YOU CAN DO TO DEFUSE TENSIONS IN LOCAL COMMUNITIES ABOUT THIS?

Vilsack: WELL, I THINK, JENEANE, FRANKLY, NOT GIVING UP HOPE THAT AT SOME POINT AND TIME LEGISLATORS WILL BE WILLING TO AT LEAST DEBATE AN EXPANSION OF LOCAL -- OR CONSIDERATION OF LOCAL CONTROL. THE FACT IS THAT THERE ARE TWO DIFFERENT DYNAMICS THIS YEAR THAN LAST YEAR THAT HAVE OCCURRED. ONE, PEOPLE HAVE BEGUN TO RAISE ISSUES CONCERNING PUBLIC HEALTH ISSUES ASSOCIATED WITH THESE LARGE FACILITIES. NOW, THE JURY IS STILL OUT IN TERMS OF THE MEDICAL EVIDENCE ABOUT WHETHER OR NOT THERE IS A PUBLIC HEALTH SITUATION INVOLVING NEIGHBORS AND PEOPLE IN SURROUNDING COMMUNITIES. WE'VE ASKED IOWA STATE AND THE UNIVERSITY OF IOWA TO TAKE A LOOK AND TO TELL US WHAT THE RESEARCH SHOWS SO WE CAN DETERMINE WHETHER OR NOT THERE'S A FACTUAL MEDICAL BASIS FOR ANY KIND OF ADMINISTRATIVE RULE. BUT THAT HAS BEGUN TO SHAPE THE DEBATE. THE SECOND THING THAT'S OCCURRED IS THAT WITH THE PRESENCE OF A LARGE FACILITY IN ELK HORN, WE'VE NOW ENTERED INTO A DISCUSSION ABOUT TOURISM AND AGRICULTURE AND WHAT THEIR RELATIONSHIP IS. THAT IS A FUNDAMENTAL SHIFT IN TERMS OF THE DISCUSSION, AND I THINK IT MANDATES THAT THERE BE A DISCUSSION AND A DEBATE ABOUT THIS ISSUE. AND I BELIEVE THAT THE TIME MAY BE RIGHT. I THINK THE LEGISLATURE MAY BE SENSITIVE, MAY BE HEARING THE CONCERNS THAT HAVE BEEN EXPRESSED ALL ACROSS THIS STATE, AND THEY MAY BE WILLING TO HAVE A DEBATE AND REOPEN THIS DISCUSSION.

Yepsen: WELL, GOVERNOR, CAN WE FIND ANOTHER WAY TO SKIN THE CAT? I MEAN, WE'VE BEEN TALKING ABOUT THIS ISSUE IN THIS STATE FOR A DECADE NOW. WHY NOT NOT REQUIRE THESE HOG CONFINEMENTS TO PUT HOOPS OVER THE BUILDINGS?

Vilsack: WELL, I MEAN, THERE'S A LOT OF TECHNOLOGY THAT'S CURRENTLY BEING --

Yepsen: SO WHY AREN'T WE USING IT?

Vilsack: WELL, THAT'S A GOOD QUESTION. MORE IMPORTANTLY, WHY WASN'T IT DEVELOPED BEFORE WE HAD THIS DEBATE. AND I THINK PEOPLE ARE PLAYING CATCH-UP. I THINK THE TECHNOLOGY IS DEVELOPING RAPIDLY TO HELP SOLVE THIS PROBLEM. BUT IN THE MEANTIME, THE FACT IS, WHILE WE'VE HAD THE DEBATE, DAVID, OUTSIDE THE CAPITOL, WE'VE HAD IT ONGOING IN COMMUNITIES ALL ACROSS THIS STATE, WE HAVEN'T HAD THE DEBATE IN THE CAPITOL. AND THAT'S THE KEY. IT'S GOT TO BE IN THE CAPITOL.

Borg: AS WE LOOK -- CONTINUE TO LOOK AT WAGE CONCESSIONS, THE AMERICAN FEDERATION OF STATE, COUNTY, AND MUNICIPAL EMPLOYEES, "AFSCME," THE STATE WORKERS UNION, MADE SOME CONCESSIONS TO HELP YOU OUT IN THE CURRENT BUDGET PINCH. WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO GIVE THEM BACK? WHAT -- WHAT TRADEOFF ARE THEY GOING TO RECEIVE OTHER THAN THE IMMEDIATE "NO IMMEDIATE LAYOFFS" OR NOT -- FEWER LAYOFFS, LET'S SAY IT THAT WAY?

Vilsack: DEAN, THERE ISN'T ANY TRADEOFF. YOU KNOW, I'M EXTRAORDINARILY PROUD OF OUR STATE WORKERS FOR MANY REASONS. ONE IS THEY DO A GOOD JOB. SECONDLY, THEY CAME TO US AND SAID, "LOOK, THIS IS A DIFFICULT TIME FOR THE STATE. WE WANT TO BE PART OF THE SOLUTION AND NOT PART OF THE PROBLEM. SO THIS IS WHAT WE PROPOSE. WE PROPOSE DEFERRING A PAY INCREASE THAT WE'RE ENTITLED TO CONTRACTUALLY AND LEGALLY." IT'S GOING TO SAVE, POTENTIALLY, THE STATE AROUND, BETWEEN THAT AND THE EARLY RETIREMENT PROGRAM, AROUND $45 MILLION. IT'S GOING TO MAKE IT A LITTLE BIT EASIER FOR US TO CLIMB THAT STEEP HILL NEXT YEAR. THIS IS THE FIRST TIME IN THE HISTORY THAT I KNOW OF THAT THE STATE WORKERS HAVE EVER DONE THIS. NO OTHER STATE, TO MY KNOWLEDGE, WAS ABLE TO WORK WELL WITH THEIR STATE WORKERS THIS WAY.

Borg: THERE'S NO LONG-RANGE PROMISE TO THEM?

Vilsack: NO, ABSOLUTELY NOT.

Yepsen: GOVERNOR, WE'RE RUNNING OUT OF TIME HERE. I WANT TO GET TO SOMETHING ELSE YOU TALKED ABOUT LAST WEEK, AND THAT IS REORGANIZING THE DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES. WHAT'S THAT GOING TO MEAN TO PEOPLE?

Vilsack: WELL, I THINK IT'S GOING TO MEAN A GREATER PRESENCE AND A GREATER FOCUS OUTSIDE OF DES MOINES. JEFF VONK HAS DONE A RATHER DETAILED STUDY OF THE CONCERNS THAT HAVE BEEN EXPRESSED BY FOLKS ACROSS THE STATE. WHAT HE'S FOUND IS THAT PEOPLE'S PERCEPTION ABOUT THE DNR IS THAT A LOT OF IT IS FOCUSED IN DES MOINES AND NOT ENOUGH ACTIVITY OUTSIDE OF DES MOINES. SO WHAT HE WANTS TO DO IS HE WANTS TO TURN IT INSIDE OUT, AND HE WANTS TO TAKE A LOT OF FOLKS THAT WERE WORKING IN DES MOINES AND PUT THEM OUT IN THE FIELD WHERE THEY CAN PROVIDE DIRECT SERVICE. AND THAT'S VERY CONSISTENT WITH WHAT WE'RE TRYING TO DO IN PRESERVING FRONT-LINE WORKERS IN DHS AND MAKING SURE THAT AS WE DEAL WITH THESE DIFFICULT BUDGET PROBLEMS THAT WE'RE NOT COMPROMISING THE FRONT-LINE SERVICE THAT DIRECTLY AFFECTS PEOPLE.

Yepsen: ANOTHER HOT ISSUE IN IOWA IS ALWAYS GAMBLING. DO YOU ANTICIPATE ANY GAMBLING LEGISLATION COMING OUT OF THE NEXT SESSION ONE WAY OR THE OTHER?

Vilsack: WELL, I THINK THAT THERE'S PROBABLY GOING TO BE A CONVERSATION ABOUT WHETHER OR NOT THE POLK COUNTY VOTER SHOULD HAVE ONE VOTE OR TWO --

Yepsen: WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT THAT?

Vilsack: WELL, I'D BE HAPPY TO SIT DOWN WITH LEGISLATORS AND VISIT. I ALWAYS THINK IT'S A GOOD IDEA, GENERALLY SPEAKING AND PHILOSOPHICALLY, TO GIVE PEOPLE CHOICES AND OPTIONS. IF THERE'S SOME PEOPLE WHO DON'T MIND THE CASINOS BUT HAVE QUESTIONS ABOUT HORSE RACING OR VICE VERSA, THEY PROBABLY OUGHT TO BE ABLE TO MAKE A DECISION ON EITHER.

Beck: WHAT ABOUT TAXES ON LAND-BASED CASINOS? SHOULD THEY GO DOWN OR SHOULD THEY CONTINUE TO GO UP?

Vilsack: WELL, I THINK THAT IT'S GOING TO BE DIFFICULT TO REDUCE TAXES ON GAMING ACTIVITIES, GIVEN THE CURRENT BUDGET SITUATION. THERE MAY BE WAYS IN WHICH THEY CAN APPROACH THAT, THAT WOULD MAKE IT PALATABLE, BUT I HAVEN'T SEEN IT YET.

Yepsen: IT'S NEVER AN OFFICIAL "IOWA PRESS" SHOW UNLESS WE TALK POLITICS.

Vilsack: I THOUGHT THAT'S WHAT WE WERE TALKING ABOUT.

Yepsen: YOU SAID YOU WOULDN'T SEEK A THIRD TERM IF YOU WON A SECOND. IS THAT STILL YOUR PROMISE?

Vilsack: YES.

Yepsen: HAVE YOU MADE YOURSELF A LAME DUCK, THEN, IF YOU'VE WON A SECOND TERM?

Vilsack: NO, NO, NOT AT ALL. NOT AT ALL.

Yepsen: I MEAN, TEDDY ROOSEVELT ONCE SAID THAT WAS ONE OF HIS GREAT MISTAKES THAT HE MADE WAS TO TERM LIMIT HIMSELF TOO EARLY IN HIS PRESIDENCY. I WONDER IF YOU HAVEN'T DONE THE SAME THING AS GOVERNOR.

Vilsack: WELL, FIRST OF ALL, IT'S WAY TOO PREMATURE TO TALK ABOUT A THIRD TERM WHEN YOU HAVEN'T EVEN DECIDED ABOUT A SECOND TERM AND THE PEOPLE, MORE IMPORTANTLY, HAVEN'T DECIDED ABOUT A SECOND TERM. HERE'S THE PROBLEM: EXECUTIVE BRANCH POWER IS RATHER SIGNIFICANT AND RATHER TREMENDOUS, AND IF YOU CONCENTRATED IN ONE PERSON FOR AN EXTENDED PERIOD OF TIME, IT IS NOT IN THE LONG-TERM BEST INTERESTS OF THE PEOPLE. NO MATTER HOW GOOD THE JOB A PERSON IS DOING, THERE ARE ALWAYS DIFFERENT IDEAS, THERE ARE ALWAYS NEW WAYS TO APPROACH THINGS. AND I STRONGLY BELIEVE -- WHEN I WAS MAYOR OF MT. PLEASANT, I PUT MYSELF TO THIS TEST. I SAID, AT THE END OF MY SECOND TERM I WASN'T GOING TO RUN AGAIN. UNFORTUNATELY, THERE WAS NOBODY ON THE BALLOT. I GOT 97 PERCENT OF THE VOTE. BUT I REALLY STRONGLY BELIEVE THAT. I THINK THE SYSTEM HAS WORKED WELL IN OUR FEDERAL GOVERNMENT, WHERE YOU BASICALLY HAVE AN EXECUTIVE BRANCH THAT OPERATES FOR TWO TERMS.

Borg: I HAVE TO INTERRUPT.

Vilsack: OKAY.

Borg: THANK YOU FOR BEING WITH US TODAY.

Vilsack: THANK YOU.

Borg: IN THIS OUR 30TH ANNIVERSARY YEAR -- GOVERNOR, WE'VE BEEN HERE FOR THIRTY YEARS -- WE HAVE A NEW BROADCAST SCHEDULE: FRIDAY EVENINGS AT 6:30; AGAIN ON SUNDAYS AT 12 NOON. AND DURING OUR 30TH ANNIVERSARY SEASON, WE'RE CLOSING OUR PROGRAMS WITH CLIPS OF PAST PROGRAMS. FORMER U.S. SENATOR JOHN CULVER WAS A FREQUENT "IOWA PRESS" GUEST. IN OCTOBER OF 1980, LESS THAN A MONTH BEFORE THE GENERAL ELECTION, SENATOR CULVER WAS HERE DISCUSSING HIS RECORD ON THE ENVIRONMENT AND CONTRASTING HIS VIEWS WITH THOSE OF CHALLENGER CHARLES GRASSLEY. I'M DEAN BORG. THANKS FOR JOINING US.

Culver: I HAVE ONE OF THE HIGHEST RECORDS FOR MY WORK IN CONSERVATION DURING THE LAST SIX YEARS IN THE CONGRESS. CONGRESSMAN GRASSLEY HAS ONE OF THE POOREST. WE APPROACH THIS PROBLEM VERY DIFFERENTLY. I SUPPORTED THE SAFE DRINKING WATER ACT. HE OPPOSED IT. I SUPPORTED THE ACT THAT WILL CONTROL TOXIC SUBSTANCES AND REQUIRE THAT THEY BE TESTED BEFORE THEY'RE MARKETED. HE VOTED FOR WINDFALL PROFITS TAX LOOPHOLES IN THE AMOUNT OF $27 BILLION. HE VOTED AGAINST A LAW THAT WOULD REQUIRE THE OIL COMPANIES TO PROVIDE THE GOVERNMENT WITH INFORMATION WITH REGARD TO THEIR ACTIVITIES. NOW, AS A RESULT OF THE VERY MARKED DIFFERENCES IN THOSE TWO RECORDS, THE OIL COMPANIES HAVE CONTRIBUTED OVER $54,000 TO DATE TO HIS CAMPAIGN. HE IS THE LARGEST RECIPIENT OF CHEMICAL COMPANY CONTRIBUTIONS OF ANY CANDIDATE RUNNING IN AMERICA TODAY, OVER $60,000. NOW, I THINK --

WELL, THAT'S A PHILOSOPHICAL DIFFERENCE.

THAT IS A PHILOSOPHICAL DIFFERENCE. WHAT IS THE ROLE OF GOVERNMENT IN TERMS OF PROTECTING THE PUBLIC HEALTH, THE PUBLIC SAFETY, AND THE PUBLIC INTEREST?

Narrator: FUNDING FOR "IOWA PRESS" WAS 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.