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Iowa Press #2924
February 8 and 10, 2002

Borg: AS THE 79TH IOWA GENERAL ASSEMBLY NEARS THE ONE-MONTH MARK IN ITS SCHEDULED 90-DAY SECOND SESSION, THERE'S SOME PROGRESS IN DEALING WITH THE STATE'S FINANCIAL CRISIS, BUT MUCH REMAINS UNKNOWN. WE'LL GET ASSESSMENTS AND PREDICTIONS FROM IOWA STATEHOUSE REPORTERS ON THIS EDITION OF "IOWA PRESS."

ANNOUNCER: 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; AND BY THE ASSOCIATED GENERAL CONTRACTORS OF IOWA... THE PUBLIC'S PARTNER IN BUILDING IOWA'S HIGHWAY, BRIDGE, AND MUNICIPAL UTILITY INFRASTRUCTURE.

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

Borg: TO USE A MEDICAL ANALOGY, IOWA'S CURRENT YEAR BUDGET IS ON LIFE SUPPORT, AND IT SEEMS THE DEMOCRATIC GOVERNOR AND REPUBLICAN CONTROLLED IOWA LEGISLATURE ALMOST DAILY ARE PROVIDING UPDATES ON ITS CURRENT CONDITION. AND THE PROGNOSIS: THE PROBLEM IS SIMPLE... THE TAX REVENUE JUST ISN'T MEETING BUDGET COMMITMENTS, EVEN THOUGH THOSE COMMITMENTS HAVE BEEN ALREADY SHARPLY TRIMMED. SHADOWING THE ONGOING BUDGET NEGOTIATIONS, THOUGH, ARE CONCERNS OVER THE STATUS OF THE ECONOMY, BOTH NATIONALLY AND LOCALLY, AND JUST HOW TO RECKON WITH THOSE REVENUE SHORTFALLS IN THE CURRENT BUDGET. THAT'S THE ONE FOR FISCAL 2002. THE NEXT OFFICIAL PREDICTIONS FOR IOWA'S ECONOMY WILL BE RELEASED MARCH 7 BY THE REVENUE ESTIMATING CONFERENCE. THAT'S A MONTH EARLIER THAN ANTICIPATED, AND MOST LEGISLATORS SAY MAJOR BUDGET DECISIONS WILL WAIT FOR THAT UPDATE. UNTIL THEN, THE TERM ECONOMIC STIMULUS IS HEARD AT THE IOWA STATEHOUSE OFTEN. BOTH THE EXECUTIVE AND LEGISLATIVE BRANCHES WOULD LIKE TO DEVELOP NEW REVENUE SOURCES TO UNDERPIN IOWA'S NEEDS. WELL, HERE TO HELP US SORT THROUGH THE POLICY AND POLITICS OF THESE CHALLENGES: "DES MOINES REGISTER" POLITICAL COLUMNIST DAVID YEPSEN; KUNI PUBLIC RADIO STATEHOUSE REPORTER JENEANE BECK; "ASSOCIATED PRESS" POLITICAL WRITER AND STATEHOUSE REPORTER MIKE GLOVER; AND WOI PUBLIC RADIO STATE GOVERNMENT CORRESPONDENT JOYCE RUSSELL. JOYCE, I HAVE OUTLINED, I THINK, GENERALLY WHAT THE CRISIS IS. IN FACT, WE'VE BEEN HEARING ABOUT IT FOR MONTHS. IT SEEMS TO BE ONGOING. BUT IT SEEMS TO ME, TO USE SOME TRITE PHRASES, THAT DURING THIS PAST WEEK ON THE BUDGET MATTER AT LEAST, OTHER THAN MEDICAID DECISIONS, THERE'S BEEN SOME TREADING OF WATER AND WAITING FOR THE NEXT SHOE TO DROP.

Russell: WELL, AS YOU'VE EXPLAINED, THEY'RE WAITING FOR THE LATEST REVENUE ESTIMATES. THAT'S WHEN THE BUDGET EXPERTS GO IN, THEY LOOK AT THE ECONOMIC TRENDS, AND THEN THEY MAKE A DECISION ABOUT HOW MUCH TAX REVENUE IS GOING TO BE EXPECTED. AND THAT'S WHAT THE LEGISLATORS CAN BUILD THEIR BUDGETS ON. BUT THE HANDWRITING IS ALREADY ON THE WALL. WE'RE GOING TO START SEEING SOME MORE BUDGET CUTTING ACTION SOON.

Borg: DO YOU SEE, THOUGH, IN ALL OF THIS SOME PARALYSIS OF STATE GOVERNMENT? PEOPLE SAY, "AM I GOING TO HAVE THIS MONEY? WHAT CAN I DO? WE'RE JUST GOING TO SIT HERE AND TREAD WATER."

Russell: WELL, THERE'S A LOT OF ANXIETY, OF COURSE, UNTIL -- IN THE REGENTS UNIVERSITIES AND ALL THROUGHOUT STATE GOVERNMENT, A LOT OF ANXIETY ABOUT JUST HOW MUCH MORE THE BUDGET IS GOING TO BE CUT.

Glover: IT'S MORE THAN PARALYSIS, DEAN. I THINK WHAT YOU HAVE HERE IS A REMARKABLE SET OF AGREEMENT AMONG SOME POLITICIANS OF REMARKABLY DIFFERENT STRIPES. EVERYONE AGREES THE STATE HAS A SHORTFALL IN ITS BUDGET. EVERYONE AGREES THAT THE SHORTFALL COULD BE SOLVED BY CUTTING SPENDING, NOT RAISING TAXES, OR NOT DOING A BUNCH OF OTHER STUFF LIKE THAT. SO THERE'S AGREEMENT ON THAT. AND THERE'S ALSO AN AGREEMENT LET'S JUST GET THROUGH THIS. LET'S DO WHAT WE HAVE TO DO JUST TO GET THROUGH THIS YEAR, GET US THROUGH THE NEXT ELECTION, AND THEN WE'LL COME BACK AND DEAL WITH THIS IN SOME KIND OF SYSTEMIC FASHION.

Borg: JENEANE, HOW IS THIS AFFECTING STATE GOVERNMENT? I USED PARALYSIS. MIKE SAYS, WELL, WE JUST WERE KIND OF WAITING TO SEE WHAT HAPPENS. HOW DO YOU SEE IT?

Beck: WELL, I THINK MORALE AMONG STATE WORKERS IS VERY LOW. EVEN LAST FALL WHEN THEY WERE FIRST ANNOUNCING THAT THEY WERE GOING TO HAVE TO TRIM THE BUDGET BY ABOUT 4.3 PERCENT, I HAD WALKED OVER TO ONE OF THE NEARBY BUILDINGS OF THE STATE CAPITOL AND WAS WALKING BACK TO THE STATEHOUSE, FOLLOWING BEHIND SOME DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN SERVICES WORKERS WHO WERE WONDERING IF THEY WERE GOING TO HAVE THEIR JOB THE NEXT DAY. AND I THINK A LOT OF THEM FEEL THAT WAY. WHEN ALL IS SAID AND DONE, THEY EXPECT SOME 1,300 LAYOFFS. AND THAT ISN'T A LOT IN THE GRAND SCHEME OF SOME 20,000 WORKERS, BUT FOR THOSE THAT ARE BEING LAID OFF, OBVIOUSLY IT'S VERY PAINFUL.

Borg: WELL --

Yepsen: STATE GOVERNMENT IS GOING THROUGH WHAT A LOT OF PRIVATE BUSINESSES IN IOWA ARE GOING THROUGH. THEY'RE LAYING OFF WORKERS. AND FOR THE PEOPLE THAT WORK THERE, THEY'RE GOOD PEOPLE, HONORABLE PEOPLE, IT'S JUST THE GOVERNMENT HAS GOTTEN A LITTLE TOO LARGE FOR THE REVENUE. SO IT IS A TIME OF ANXIETY. I THINK IT'S GOING TO GET WORSE, BECAUSE I THINK NEXT WEEK WE'RE GOING TO START WITH ANOTHER ROUND OF LAYOFFS. I THINK THE GOVERNOR IS GOING TO START TELLING -- WE'VE HAD THE EARLY RETIREMENT PROGRAM. THAT DIDN'T NET AS MANY PEOPLE AS THEY WANTED. NOW WE'RE GOING TO START SEEING EVEN MORE LAYOFFS.

Glover: DEAN, WHAT WE HAVE TO REMEMBER IS WHAT THEY'RE DEALING WITH IS THE BUDGET FOR THE CURRENT BUDGET YEAR THAT WE'RE IN RIGHT NOW, AND THEY'VE ALREADY CUT THAT BY 4.3 PERCENT VIRTUALLY ACROSS THE BOARD. AND THE BIGGEST SECRET UP THERE -- AND I THINK THERE'S SOME AGREEMENT ON THIS -- IS THERE'S ANOTHER $100 MILLION THAT'S GOT TO COME OUT OF THIS BUDGET. ONCE THEY DEAL WITH THAT, THEN THEY BEGIN WORRYING ABOUT NEXT YEAR'S BUDGET, WHERE THE REAL PROBLEM STARTS.

Yepsen: AND WHEN YOU'VE ONLY GOT A FEW MONTHS REMAINING IN THE FISCAL YEAR, THE ONLY WAY TO DO THAT IS TO GET RID OF PEOPLE. YOU EITHER LAY THEM OFF OR YOU ASK PEOPLE TO START TAKING VOLUNTARY FURLOUGHS.

Borg: JOYCE, IN THE LAST ACROSS -- AND THE ONLY WAY THE GOVERNOR CAN ACT, AS I UNDERSTAND IT, IS ACROSS THE BOARD. HE CAN'T JUST GO IN AND PICK AND CHOOSE WHERE THE CUTS SHOULD COME. IN THE LAST ACROSS-THE-BOARD, K-12 EDUCATION, PUBLIC SAFETY, AND SOME OTHERS WERE PROTECTED IN THAT THE LEGISLATURE CAME INTO SPECIAL SESSION AND RESTORED SOME OF THAT ACROSS-THE-BOARD MONEY. THIS TIME MAYBE NOT SO MUCH PROTECTION.

Russell: RIGHT. SCHOOLS WERE PROTECTED BUT THEN THEY ALSO GOT THE ACROSS-THE-BOARD BUDGET CUT, AND THAT'S GOING TO STAY -- THAT CUT IS GOING TO STAY IN THERE, AND SCHOOLS ARE GOING TO BE HURTING AS A RESULT OF THAT.

Yepsen: DEAN, 60 PERCENT OF THE STATE'S BUDGET GOES FOR EDUCATION, K-12, HIGHER EDUCATION. YOU CAN'T DEAL WITH $100-MILLION BUDGET SHORTFALLS WITHOUT GETTING IN AND CUTTING THOSE PEOPLE EVEN MORE. SO WHILE EDUCATORS SAY, "MY GOSH, WE THOUGHT WE WERE ALREADY CUTTING BUDGETS," THERE'S MORE TO COME.

Glover: AND LOCAL SCHOOLS HAVE AN AVENUE THAT A LOT OF OTHER ASPECTS OF STATE GOVERNMENT DON'T HAVE. THEY HAVE AN ABILITY TO RAISE MONEY ELSEWHERE, THEIR OWN PROPERTY TAXES. AND SO STATE GOVERNMENT, THE SIGNAL THEY'RE SENDING IS "WE'RE OUT OF MONEY. GO BACK TO YOUR CONSTITUENTS TO GET MONEY FROM THEM."

Russell: AND THEY'LL BE DEALING WITH THAT VERY SOON. AND THEN NEXT YEAR'S ALLOWABLE GROWTH, THAT PERCENTAGE FIGURE THAT SCHOOLS ARE ALLOWED TO GROW THEIR BUDGETS BY, THERE'S, IN STATE LAW, A REQUIREMENT THAT THE LEGISLATURE DEAL WITH THAT EARLY ON.

Borg: WELL, JENEANE, IN RAISING REVENUE, THE SCHOOLS IN SOME AREAS HAVE ENACTED A LOCAL OPTION SALES TAX. AND THERE'S A MOVE -- I DON'T KNOW HOW STRONG -- BUT THERE'S A MOVE TO MAKE THAT STATEWIDE.

Beck: AND I SHOULD MAKE CLEAR THAT MONEY THAT THOSE SCHOOLS, LIKE POLK COUNTY OR OTHER COUNTIES AROUND THE STATE THAT HAVE RAISED LOCAL OPTION SALES TAX, CAN'T HELP WITH THEIR CURRENT BUDGET CRUNCH. IT CAN ONLY BE USED FOR REPAIRS TO SCHOOL BUILDINGS OR TO BUILD NEW BUILDINGS. BUT, YES, A LOT OF SCHOOL DISTRICTS ARE LOOKING AT THAT, AND SOME THAT ARE PROPERTY TAX POOR, SOME RURAL AREAS THAT IT DOESN'T MATTER, EVEN IF THEY WOULD PUT A SALES TAX IN PLACE, ARE NOT GOING TO GENERATE THAT MUCH MONEY, ARE REALLY CONCERNED ABOUT THIS. AND SOME HAVE THREATENED TO SUE. THEY'RE ASKING LAWMAKERS TO PROPOSE A STATEWIDE ONE-CENT SALES TAX. THEN THAT MONEY WOULD BE DIVVIED UP PER PUPIL.

Borg AND MY THOUGHT ON THAT CAME FROM WHEN MIKE SAID, "WELL, STATE GENERAL FUND WON'T GIVE AS MUCH TO SCHOOLS, SO THEY RELY ON PROPERTY TAX." WELL, THAT'S HOW SCHOOLS BUILD THEIR SCHOOL BUILDINGS RIGHT NOW.

Glover: THE DYNAMIC IS ABOUT 20 URBAN COUNTIES HAVE ENACTED A LOCAL OPTION SALES TAX TO HELP REPAIR, REBUILD THEIR SCHOOL SYSTEMS. A LOT OF PEOPLE IN RURAL IOWA -- AND THOSE, BY THE WAY, ARE THE MAJOR SHOPPING AREAS OF THE STATE. SO A LOT OF PEOPLE IN RURAL IOWA RESENT HAVING TO TRAVEL, FOR INSTANCE, TO DES MOINES TO DO THEIR SHOPPING, PAY AN EXTRA PENNY IN THE SALES TAX, WHICH GOES TO HELP THE DES MOINES SCHOOL SYSTEM AND NOT THEIRS. SO THEY'D LIKE TO TAKE THIS TAX AND PUT IT STATEWIDE TO HELP THEIR SCHOOLS. I THINK THE DYNAMIC IS IN AN ELECTION YEAR, A LEGISLATURE RUN BY REPUBLICANS IS UNLIKELY, I THINK, TO APPROVE A STATEWIDE SALES TAX INCREASE.

Russell: JENEANE MENTIONED THAT STATEWIDE SALES TAX MONEY WOULD BE ONLY FOR SCHOOL BUILDINGS, BUT ONE OF THE -- ONE OF THE REASONS THAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING THEY DON'T WANT TO HAVE THIS SALES TAX IS WITH SCHOOLS ALREADY HURTING, IT WOULD BE TREMENDOUS PRESSURE TO SORT OF TAP THAT SCHOOL BUILDING MONEY AND SAY, WELL, WE NEED A LITTLE BIT OF THAT FOR CLASSROOM --

Glover: THE REAL PRESSURE IS THE NEXT PENNY ON THE SALES TAX. IT'S THE BIG SECRET AFTER THE NEXT ELECTION, AND A LOT OF PEOPLE DON'T WANT TO WASTE THAT BIG SECRET RIGHT NOW.

Beck: WELL, AND IT WASN'T JUST FOR SCHOOLS. IF YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT THIS ONE-CENT SALES TAX, SUDDENLY THE DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN SERVICES SAYS, "HEY, WHY CAN'T WE USE SOME OF THAT MONEY FOR MEDICAID THAT'S SUFFERING, WHY CAN'T WE USE SOME OF THIS MONEY FOR CRUMBLING BUILDINGS THAT THE STATE HAS"?

Yepsen: THERE'S AN OLD RULE OF THUMB UP THERE, DEAN, THAT YOU'VE GOT TO HAVE ABOUT TWO CENT'S WORTH OF SALES TAX NEEDS IN ORDER TO PASS A ONE-CENT INCREASE IN THE SALES TAX, AND IT WILL COME PROBABLY AFTER THE ELECTION NEXT YEAR.

Borg: JOYCE, YOU WROTE THIS WEEK AND REPORTED ON THE RECIPROCITY AGREEMENT BETWEEN IOWA AND ILLINOIS. TELL ME ABOUT THAT. IS THAT AN ATTEMPT FOR IOWA TO GET SOME MORE TAX REVENUE?

Russell: WELL, THE AGREEMENT THAT IOWA HAS WITH ILLINOIS -- AND LOTS OF OTHER STATES HAVE AGREEMENTS LIKE THAT -- WHERE IF YOU LIVE IN IOWA AND WORK IN ILLINOIS, YOU DON'T HAVE TO PAY ILLINOIS TAXES AND VICE VERSA. WELL, THE LATEST FIGURES ON THAT INDICATE THAT THAT'S COSTING THE IOWA TREASURY MORE THAN THE ILLINOIS TREASURY BY ABOUT $16 MILLION. SO IF WE WERE TO GET RID OF THAT AGREEMENT, THEN, THEORETICALLY AT LEAST, THEN THE IOWA TREASURY WOULD BE THE GAINER BY $16 MILLION. THE DISADVANTAGE IS, OF COURSE, THAT IOWANS WOULD THEN -- AND THE VILSACK ADMINISTRATION SAYS THAT IT WOULDN'T COST IOWANS MORE IN TAXES, BECAUSE THEY COULD DEDUCT THE NEW ILLINOIS TAXES THAT THEY PAY, BUT WHO KNOWS FOR SURE WHETHER THAT'S TRUE. AND ALSO, IOWANS WOULD HAVE TO FILE TWO TAX RETURNS.

Borg: JENEANE, THERE WAS AN AGREEMENT UP THERE THIS WEEK ON MEDICAID, AT LEAST WHAT SOME PEOPLE CALL A BAND-AID. HOW DID THAT WORK?

Beck: WELL, THEY TAPPED INTO A COUPLE OF FUNDS: THE SENIOR LIVING TRUST FUND, WHICH WAS SUPPOSED TO BE FOR NURSING HOMES THAT WANTED TO CONVERT NORMAL FACILITIES INTO THOSE ASSISTED LIVING FACILITIES THAT ARE BECOMING MORE POPULAR; AND THEY ALSO TAPPED A LITTLE BIT INTO THE TOBACCO FUND. AND THEY GOT RID OF SOME DENTAL CARE SERVICES FOR THE POOR AND RAISED A SLIGHT COST ON THE CO-PAY FOR PRESCRIPTION DRUGS.

Glover: THERE'S A LOT THAT YOU SAW IN THAT MEDICAID AGREEMENT THAT'S GOING TO FORESHADOW A LOT OF WHAT'S GOING TO HAPPEN FOR THE REST OF THE SESSION, DEAN. THERE ARE A LOT OF REPUBLICANS THE FIRST MONTH OF THE SESSION, "OH, WE CAN'T PUT A BAND-AID ON A CONTINUING PROBLEM. WE CAN'T USE ONE-TIME MONEY TO SOLVE AN ONGOING PROBLEM." THERE'S SOMETHING ABOUT A BAND-AID, DEAN; IT STOPS BLEEDING. AND THAT'S EXACTLY WHAT THIS DOES. THEY DID EXACTLY WHAT THEY SAID THEY WEREN'T GOING TO DO TO STOP THE BLEEDING AND AVOID THE REAL PAIN. THE REAL PAIN WAS CUTTING BACK ON SERVICES.

Borg: WELL, ARE YOU SAYING THOSE FUNDS MIGHT BE TAPPED IN THE FUTURE FOR THE SAME ONGOING EXPENSE?

Glover: ABSOLUTELY.

Yepsen: WELL, EXCEPT THE ONLY PROBLEM IS THEY'RE STARTING TO GET A LITTLE TAPPED OUT. YOU CAN JUST PLAY THIS GAME OF ROBBING FUNDS OF ONE-TIME MONEY ONE TIME. AND WHAT THEY'RE DOING IS THEY'RE JUST KICKING THE CAN DOWN INTO NEXT YEAR, HOPING THE ECONOMY GETS BETTER, MAYBE THEY'LL RAISE TAXES, MAYBE THEY'LL FIGURE OUT SOMETHING ELSE. BUT MIKE IS RIGHT; WE'VE JUST GOT TO GET THROUGH THIS ELECTION YEAR.

Russell: ONLY A REALLY SMALL PART OF THAT MEDICAID SHORTFALL WAS DEALT WITH IN CUTS, AND THE DEBATE THERE WAS OVER WHO SHOULD SUFFER THE CUT. SHOULD IT BE THE LOW INCOME PEOPLE WHO ARE ON MEDICAID, OR SHOULD IT BE THE PROVIDERS WHO ARE PROVIDING THE SERVICES? AND ULTIMATELY, THE BILL THAT CAME OUT OF THE LEGISLATURE LEVIES THE CUTS ON THE LOW INCOME PEOPLE AND DOES NOT CUT REIMBURSEMENTS TO PROVIDERS. AND THE ARGUMENT THAT THEY MAKE THERE IS THAT THOSE PROVIDERS WILL QUIT TREATING MEDICAID PATIENTS IF YOU CUT THEIR REIMBURSEMENTS TOO MUCH.

Glover: AND NURSING HOMES HAVE BETTER LOBBYISTS THAN POOR PEOPLE.

Borg: JENEANE, SINCE 9/11 THERE HAVE BEEN ENORMOUS COSTS NATIONALLY FOR SECURITY. IS IOWA -- THAT'S AFFECTED THE NATIONAL ECONOMY AND OURS TOO. BUT IS IT ALSO AFFECTING IOWA'S EXPENSES?

Beck: I THINK RIGHT NOW THEY'RE NOT SURE HOW MUCH. IT IS OBVIOUSLY AFFECTING IOWA'S EXPENSES. WE HAVE NATIONAL GUARD AT THE AIRPORT. WE HAVE HIRED SOME MORE STATE TROOPERS OR RETIRED POLICE WORKERS TO GUARD THE STATEHOUSE. SO, YES, THERE IS MONEY INVOLVED. THEY HOPE TO RECOUP SOME OF THAT FROM THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT, BUT THEY DON'T REALLY EXPECT TO GET IT ALL BACK. SO THE GOVERNOR, WHEN HE DID THAT 4.3-PERCENT ACROSS-THE-BOARD BUDGET CUT, KEPT PUBLIC SAFETY PROTECTED AND DIDN'T DELVE INTO THEIR BUDGET. HOW LONG HE'LL BE ABLE TO DO THAT, THOUGH, WHEN WE'RE LOOKING AT SOME $4- TO $500-MILLION SHORTFALL FOR NEXT YEAR IS THE QUESTION.

Borg: JOYCE, THE QUESTION BEING IS THE GENERAL PUBLIC -- I KNOW WE'VE BEEN HEARING ONGOING STORIES ABOUT IOWA AND NOT HAVING ENOUGH REVENUE AND PEOPLE BEING LAID OFF AND SO ON. BUT DO YOU THINK THE GENERAL PUBLIC REALLY HAS BEEN AFFECTED BY WHAT'S HAPPENING IN STATE GOVERNMENT?

Russell: WELL, I THINK THAT THE MORE -- OBVIOUSLY, PEOPLE WHO ARE EMPLOYED BY THE STATE. I LIVE IN A UNIVERSITY TOWN. THERE ARE A LOT OF UNIVERSITY PEOPLE. AND YOU'RE AFFECTED. YOUR LIVELIHOOD IS AFFECTED. YOUR WORKPLACE IS AFFECTED. I THINK THAT THE MORE THE CUTS REACH PUBLIC SCHOOLS, THE MORE PEOPLE WILL FEEL THEM, BECAUSE A LOT OF PEOPLE HAVE KIDS IN THE SCHOOLS AND THEY'RE GETTING NOTES SENT HOME SAYING SEND MONEY, BRING PAPER TO SCHOOL, WE DON'T HAVE PAPER AT SCHOOL. THEN IT'S GOING TO AFFECT PEOPLE MORE.

Yepsen: OUR POLLING, DEAN, SHOWS MOST IOWANS HAVEN'T NOTICED THIS. IT'S OF ENORMOUS INTEREST TO THOSE OF US WHO WATCH POLITICS AND WHO COVER GOVERNMENT OR, AS JOYCE SAYS, IF YOU WORK IN STATE GOVERNMENT. THE AVERAGE IOWAN OUT THERE REALLY HASN'T BEEN AFFECTED BY THIS TOO MUCH.

Glover: AND JOYCE IS RIGHT. THE MAIN AREA THAT THIS WILL TOUCH MOST IOWANS IS THROUGH THE PUBLIC SCHOOL SYSTEM. THAT'S THE BRUSH THAT MOST PEOPLE HAVE WITH STATE GOVERNMENT IS THROUGH THEIR LOCAL SCHOOLS. IOWANS HAVE A TRADITIONALLY HIGH COMMITMENT TO EDUCATION, AND WHEN FACED WITH A SHORTFALL AT THEIR LOCAL SCHOOLS, VOTERS HAVE SHOWN IN THIS STATE, THEY'LL STEP UP TO THE POLL, RAISE THE SALES TAX TO FIX A SCHOOL BUILDING, DO WHAT'S NECESSARY TO GET MONEY, PAY THE PROPERTY TAXES. THEY'LL FIND THE MONEY FOR THEIR LOCAL SCHOOLS.

Borg: MIKE, THIS PAST WEEK, PENNY WESTFALL WAS REVEALED AS APPLYING FOR ANOTHER JOB THAT DOESN'T PAY AS MUCH AS WHAT SHE'S GETTING AS STATE SAFETY COMMISSIONER RIGHT NOW -- OR THE DIRECTOR OF THE DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY. WHAT'S THE STORY BEHIND THAT? AND IS THAT PART OF THE BUDGET PROBLEM? SHE'S JUST BAILING OUT?

Glover: NO, SHE HAD A DIFFICULT SITUATION. SHE WAS A FEMALE HEAD OF A POLICE AGENCY LARGELY DOMINATED BY MEN. YOU WALK INTO THAT BUILDING, IT'S A MALE DOMINATED SOCIETY. IT'S A COP SHOP. THEY WEREN'T ALL THAT HAPPY WITH HAVING A WOMAN RUN THE SHOP. THERE WAS SOME UNEASE ABOUT SOME STEPS SHE'D TAKEN, TAKING THE STATEHOUSE SECURITY FORCE AND BRINGING IT INTO THE HIGHWAY PATROL, DOING SOME OTHER THINGS LIKE THAT. SO IT WAS MORE OF AN INTERNAL THING. ALSO, WE NEED TO REMEMBER HER PREDECESSOR, GENE SHEPERD, LEFT THAT JOB TO BECOME DIRECTOR OF THE POLICE ACADEMY, SO IT'S NOT UNPRECEDENTED.

Borg: I SEE. NOW, ARE THERE OTHERS, THOUGH, LIKE HER WHO ARE BAILING OUT OF STATE GOVERNMENT?

Glover: YEAH, YEAH. THIS STATE GOVERNMENT IS GOING THROUGH A CONTRACTION. AND THERE ARE A LOT OF PEOPLE WHO GOT IN STATE GOVERNMENT NOT TO CUT BUDGETS BUT TO ACCOMPLISH SOMETHING. THERE ARE A LOT OF SOCIAL WORKERS WHO GOT INTO SOCIAL WORK TO HELP PEOPLE, AND THEY'RE FINDING THEMSELVES STRUGGLING WITH CUTTING SPENDING, LAYING PEOPLE OFF, AND THINGS LIKE THAT. IT'S NOT WHY THEY GOT INTO STATE GOVERNMENT IN THE FIRST PLACE. IT'S NOT WHY THEY GOT INTO PUBLIC SERVICE, IN THE BEST SENSE OF THE WORD. SO A LOT OF THEM, GIVEN THE OPPORTUNITY TO DO AN EARLY RETIREMENT ARE DOING JUST THAT.

Borg: JOYCE, VENTURE CAPITAL, ARE WE THROUGH HEARING ABOUT THAT NOW AND WE'RE WAITING TO JUST SIT BACK FOR IT TO TAKE EFFECT, OR IS THERE MORE TO BE DONE?

Russell: VENTURE CAPITAL IS THE INITIATIVE TO MAKE -- TO ENCOURAGE INVESTMENT IN START-UP COMPANIES. AND THE LEGISLATURE HAS PASSED ONE PIECE OF THAT. THEY'RE CONTINUING TO WORK ON ANOTHER PIECE OF THAT THAT WOULD MAKE IT MORE LIKELY THAT THAT INVESTMENT WOULD HAPPEN HERE IN IOWA.

Yepsen: I THINK, DEAN, THE VENTURE CAPITAL PACKAGE WILL PROBABLY BE THE ONLY THING THAT ANYBODY REMEMBERS OUT OF THIS LEGISLATIVE SESSION IN TEN YEARS. IT'S IMPORTANT FOR IOWA TO GET START-UP MONEY TO NEW BUSINESSES. WE'VE GOT A LOT OF PEOPLE WITH IDEAS IN IOWA FOR STARTING BUSINESSES. WE HAVEN'T BEEN ABLE TO GET THAT CROP TO GROW BECAUSE THEY CAN'T GET START-UP MONEY. SO THERE'S A WHOLE SERIES OF BILLS. THERE'S BIPARTISAN AGREEMENT THAT WE NEED TO DO THIS. AND I THINK IN TEN YEARS, YOU'RE GOING TO SEE NEW JOBS IN IOWA, YOU'RE GOING TO SEE NEW BUSINESSES GROWING BECAUSE THIS PROGRAM IS IN PLACE.

Borg: I'D LIKE TO HAVE YOU, IF YOU WILL, JENEANE, TICK OFF FOR ME SOME OF THE LEGISLATION THAT'S PENDING UP THERE RIGHT NOW THAT, WHILE WE'RE WAITING FOR OTHER THINGS TO HAPPEN ON THE BUDGET, THAT AREN'T BUDGET RELATED. ONE WOULD BE BLOOD ALCOHOL.

Beck: THAT'S RIGHT. YESTERDAY -- OR RATHER THURSDAY, THE SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE PASSED OUT LOWERING THE THRESHOLD FOR DRUNK DRIVING IN IOWA FROM .10 TO .08. AND SOME FEEL THAT'S REALLY GOING TO MAKE THE HIGHWAY SYSTEM OR THE ROADS SAFER IN IOWA, THAT PEOPLE HAVE DIED AND BEEN KILLED IN ACCIDENTS WHERE THE DRIVER IS ABOVE .08 BUT NOT QUITE .10. AND OTHERS SAY, NO, YOU'RE GOING TO BRING MORE CASUAL DRINKERS INTO THE COUNTY JAILS, WHICH ARE ALREADY OVERCROWDED. BUT THAT HAS PASSED A FIRST HURDLE, FARTHER THAN IT'S GOTTEN THE LAST COUPLE OF YEARS. FEDERAL DOLLARS FOR ROADS ARE TIED TO THIS -- TO IOWA PASSING THIS, SO MAYBE IT WILL MAKE IT ALL THE WAY THROUGH THIS YEAR.

Yepsen: DEAN, THERE ARE SEVERAL THINGS THAT FIT IN THAT CATEGORY. I MEAN, WE'RE TALKING ABOUT RAISING THE SPEED LIMIT. WE'RE TALKING ABOUT TINKERING AROUND WITH HOG LOT LEGISLATION. THEY'RE TALKING ABOUT MAKING IT -- TRYING TO MAKE MARRIAGES BETTER. THERE'S AN OLD SAYING, "IDLE HANDS MAKE MISCHIEF." SO WHEN POLICYMAKERS DECIDE WE'RE NOT GOING TO DO ANYTHING ON THIS BUDGET FOR ANOTHER MONTH, YOU'VE GOT 150 PEOPLE UP THERE SITTING AROUND DOING NOTHING AND SOME OF THEM CAN GET INTO TROUBLE. AND ONE OF THE THINGS THAT'S GONE ON IS THAT REPUBLICAN LEADERS, PARTICULARLY, HAVE DECIDED, WELL, WE'RE GOING TO TAKE CARE OF SOME OF OUR SOCIAL CONSTITUENCIES, SOME OF THE SOCIAL CONSERVATIVES, AND MAKE THEM HAPPY. WE'LL DO A MARRIAGE BILL. AND SO THAT SORT OF STUFF HAS NOW COME TO THE FLOOR WHILE THE BUDGET DECISIONS ARE BEING MADE OFF IN THE BACK ROOM. THERE'S A GAME OF CHICKEN GOING ON WITH THIS BUDGET. TOUGH CUTS ARE GOING TO HAVE TO BE MADE, AND REPUBLICANS WANT TO SEE TOM VILSACK MAKE THE FIRST MOVE. IN THE PAST THEY'VE COME OUT THERE AND SAID, "OH, WE'VE GOT TO CUT BUDGETS," AND SO THE LEGISLATURE WILL PASS CUTS AND VILSACK VETOES THEM AND THEN BLAMES THOSE BIG, MEAN REPUBLICANS FOR DOING IT. REPUBLICANS ARE ONTO THAT GAME AND THEY'RE GOING TO SAY, "ALL RIGHT, WE'RE GOING WAIT AND WE'LL LET TOM VILSACK PROPOSE THE FIRST ROUND OF CUTS AND LET HIM TAKE SOME OF THE HEAT INSTEAD OF US."

Glover: IT'S A TRADITION THAT THE STATEHOUSE THAT'S AGE OLD, BIG DECISIONS ABOUT BUDGETS, SPENDING, TAXES, GET MADE IN THE BACK ROOM, AND YOU CAN SEE THIS. YOU WALK INTO THE HOUSE OR SENATE CHAMBER, AND YOU LOOK AROUND AND THERE ARE A BUNCH OF PEOPLE KIND OF SITTING AT THEIR DESKS AND LOOKING AROUND, "WHAT'S GOING ON HERE." "GEE, I DON'T KNOW. WHAT ARE YOU DOING, ED." "OH, I'M JUST SORT OF HANGING AROUND, NOT DOING MUCH." AND THEN THEY START, "WELL, WHAT ABOUT THIS." WELL, ONE OF THE THINGS THAT THEY'RE TALKING ABOUT IS A BILL TO DECLARE ENGLISH THE STATE'S OFFICIAL LANGUAGE. THAT'S COME UP THE LAST COUPLE OF YEARS. IT'S NEVER PASSED BUT IT'S UP AGAIN THIS YEAR. THE SAME KIND OF A THING. IT MAKES THE SOCIAL CONSERVATIVES HAPPY TO FOCUS THE DEBATE ON THAT, SO THEY'RE TALKING ABOUT THAT. BUT IT'S JUST A GAME OF PEOPLE WITHOUT MUCH TO DO. THEY KNOW THAT THEY'RE NOT GOING TO BE PLAYERS IN THESE BIG BUDGET DECISIONS. THEY'VE GOT TO DO SOMETHING SO -- AND LEADERS KIND OF CASUALLY SAY, OKAY, THEY'LL DO THAT.

Russell: IF THE GOAL IS TO USE UP TIME, THEN ENGLISH IS THE OFFICIAL LANGUAGE BILL IS A GOOD ONE.

Glover: OH, ABSOLUTELY.

Russell: THEN DEMOCRATS CAN FILE AMENDMENTS TILL THE COWS COME HOME.

Yepsen: ALL OF THIS STUFF GETS MAGNIFIED IN IMPORTANCE, BECAUSE ALL OF US ARE SITTING AROUND THERE -- OUR BOSSES AREN'T LETTING US TWIDDLE OUR THUMBS, SO WE WRITE ABOUT ENGLISH ONLY AND MARRIAGE BILLS AND THINGS LIKE THAT.

Borg: BUT, JENEANE, THERE'S ONE THAT'S MUCH ANTICIPATED THAT WE KNOW IS PENDING, AND THAT'S CONFINEMENT OPERATIONS FOR LIVESTOCK.

Beck: THAT'S BEEN INTERESTING. YOU TALK ABOUT BACK-ROOM MEETINGS. WELL, MAYBE IT'S JUST THE REPORTERS COMPLAINING; I'M NOT SURE. BUT THERE ARE GROUPS OF DEMOCRATS, REPUBLICANS, AND LOBBYISTS MEETING ON THIS ISSUE, BUT THEY'RE CLOSED OFF. WE'RE NOT ALLOWED TO ATTEND THOSE, AND THE GENERAL PUBLIC ISN'T ALLOWED TO ATTEND THOSE. AND THEY SAY IT'S BECAUSE THEY CAN TALK MORE FREELY THAT WAY AND REALLY TALK OUT THIS PROBLEM AND COME TO SOME SOLUTIONS ON HOW TO MAKE THIS MORE PALATABLE TO THE RURAL CONSTITUENTS.

Glover: THE REAL PROBLEM THEY'RE HAVING IS THEY DON'T HAVE A GOOD ANSWER. THERE IS ONE OVERARCHING ISSUE THAT GOES INTO THIS WHOLE HOG LOT ISSUE, AND THAT -- DO YOU LET LOCAL GOVERNMENTS DECIDE WITH THIS INDUSTRY, JUST LIKE EVERY OTHER INDUSTRY -- IF I WANT TO BUILD A CAN FACTORY SOMEWHERE, I'VE GOT TO GO TO THE LOCAL BOARD OF SUPERVISORS AND GET A ZONING CLEARANCE TO DO IT. YOU DON'T HAVE TO DO THAT IF YOU'RE BUILDING A HOG LOT. THEY'VE ALREADY DECIDED THAT. THEY'RE NOT GOING TO GIVE LOCAL OFFICIALS ANY CONTROL OVER IT, SO ANYTHING THEY'RE GOING TO DO IS JUST GOING TO BE TINKERING.

Russell: THERE WILL BE SMALL THINGS LIKE HOW FAR AWAY FROM A FLOODPLAIN YOU HAVE TO BE BEFORE YOU CAN BUILD A HOG LOT.

Yepsen: BUT IT WON'T SOLVE THE POLITICAL PROBLEM. I THINK REPUBLICANS PLAYED THIS POORLY. I MEAN, THEY'VE RAISED THIS EXPECTATION THAT WE'RE GOING TO "DO SOMETHING, ABOUT HOG LOTS" WHEN, IN REALITY, THEY'RE JUST GOING TO TINKER AROUND THE EDGES WITH ARCANE THINGS AND IT IS -- THEY'RE GOING TO PASS A BILL. IT WON'T SOLVE THE PROBLEM, SO I THINK THEY'RE GOING TO RAISE EXPECTATIONS UNNECESSARILY.

Glover: LET'S GIVE YOU AN EXAMPLE, DEAN. IT IS CURRENTLY AGAINST THE LAW TO BUILD A HOG CONFINEMENT FACILITY IN A FLOODPLAIN, A 200-YEAR FLOODPLAIN. THEY'D LIKE TO LOWER THAT TO A 50-YEAR FLOODPLAIN. THAT'S THE KIND OF STUFF THEY'RE TINKERING AROUND WITH. AND YOU'RE RIGHT, DAVID, THAT IS NOT GOING SOLVE ANY PROBLEMS OUT THERE.

Borg: GAMBLING TAXES, JOYCE. IS SOME LEGISLATION PENDING UP THERE THAT WOULD HAVE AN EFFECT ON IOWA'S GAMBLING OPERATIONS?

Russell: WELL, A BILL PASSED THE WAYS AND MEANS COMMITTEE IN THE HOUSE THIS WEEK. THE RACETRACKS PAY HIGHER GAMBLING TAXES THAN --

Beck: THAN THE RIVERBOATS.

Russell: THAN THE RIVERBOATS. AND EVERY YEAR YOU SEE AN EFFORT BY THE RACETRACKS TO CHANGE THAT. WELL, THE BILL THAT PASSED THE WAYS AND MEANS COMMITTEE WOULD FIX THAT ONLY FOR THE DUBUQUE TRACK. BUT THEN THAT OPENS IT UP, AND ONCE YOU GET A BILL LIKE THAT OUT ON THE FLOOR, THEN EVERYBODY ELSE IS IN THERE.

Yepsen: WE ALWAYS SAY IT'S NEVER AN OFFICIAL SESSION OF THE IOWA LEGISLATURE UNLESS YOU HAVE A GAMBLING DEBATE, SO HERE WE GO.

Glover: AND IN THE END, IN THE FINAL ANALYSIS, THE BILL IS NOT GOING TO GO ANYWHERE BECAUSE, YOU'RE RIGHT, WHEN YOU BRING OUT DOING IT -- BECAUSE WHAT HAPPENS IS THE TAX ON THE RACETRACKS IS -- IN THE ORIGINAL LAW INCREASES EVERY YEAR. AND THIS WOULD STOP THE INCREASE FOR ONE TRACK. WELL, THE OTHER TRACKS ARE NOT GOING TO LET THAT HAPPEN.

Yepsen: NO. AND THEY'RE ALSO AT POLITICAL DEADLOCK, I THINK, UP THERE OVER GAMBLING.

Glover: THAT'S RIGHT.

Yepsen: YOU'VE GOT PROPONENTS OF GAMBLING, YOU'RE GOT OPPONENTS OF GAMBLING, AND THEY FOUGHT THEMSELVES TO A GRIDLOCK. IT'S ULTIMATELY -- I DON'T EXPECT GAMBLING CHANGES TO --

Borg: JENEANE, I'D LIKE TO FOCUS ALL OF WHAT WE'VE SAID HERE NOW ON THE TENOR OF THE SESSION. WE KNOW THAT THIS IS THE LAST SESSION OF THE IOWA GENERAL ASSEMBLY UNDER THIS CURRENT REAPPORTIONMENT PLAN. NEXT TIME THE MAPS ARE ALL REDRAWN, NEW ELECTIONS, AND SO ON. IS THAT AFFECTING THE WAY THIS SESSION IS GOING?

Beck: SURE IT IS. THERE HAVE BEEN SOME WHERE THERE HAVE BEEN ABSENT PEOPLE, SOME SENATORS THAT ARE TAKING FEDERAL POSITIONS THAT JUST AREN'T AROUND, BUT THEIR SEATS HAVEN'T BEEN FILLED YET. SO THERE'S SOME WRANGLING OVER THOSE SPECIAL ELECTIONS. THERE ARE SENATORS WHO ARE PLANNING ON RETIRING AND, WHILE THEY'VE BEEN UP THERE TRYING TO DO GOOD WORK OVER THE YEARS, MAYBE THEY ARE A LITTLE LESS LIKELY TO CARE THIS YEAR. THAT SOUNDS A LITTLE CALLOUS, BUT THERE ARE SOME THAT ARE JUST HAVING A NICE LAST SESSION WITH THEIR FRIENDS AND NOT PAYING AS MUCH ATTENTION, MAYBE, AS THEY USUALLY WOULD.

Glover: DEAN, THE BEST ESTIMATES THAT I'VE HEARD IS THAT ABOUT A THIRD OF THIS LEGISLATURE WILL BE GONE AT THE END OF THIS SESSION, AND THEY KNOW IT. I'LL GIVE YOU AN EXAMPLE. THE SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE, BRENT SIEGRIST, ONE OF THE MOST POWERFUL PEOPLE IN THE LEGISLATURE, YOU JUST DON'T SEE HIM THERE ANYMORE. WHY? HE'S RUNNING FOR CONGRESS OUT IN WESTERN IOWA. HIS HEAD IS, BUT NOT HIS BODY, IS IN WESTERN IOWA GOING TO COFFEES AND THINGS LIKE THAT, SO HE'S JUST NOT A PLAYER. THERE ARE A LOT OF PEOPLE LIKE THAT WHO ARE GETTING ON WITH THEIR LIVES.

Yepsen: WELL, THERE'S A HUGE ELECTION COMING UP, SO MEMBERS ARE PREOCCUPIED WITH CAMPAIGNS. THE RACE FOR GOVERNOR. THEY'RE ALL IN NEW DISTRICTS, SO THEY'RE WORRIED ABOUT GETTING REELECTED. AND I THINK IT WILL BE ENTERTAINING BECAUSE THERE'S A LOT OF LOOSE CANNONS UP THERE. THERE ARE PEOPLE WHO KNOW THEY AREN'T COMING BACK. SOME WILL BECOME STATESMEN AND TRY TO DO THE RIGHT THING, AND THERE WILL BE OTHERS THAT WILL JUST BE UP THERE MAKING TROUBLE, TRYING TO GET EVEN. SO IT WILL BE AN INTERESTING CLOSE.

Borg: JOYCE, I DON'T WANT THIS REFERENCE TO SPECIAL ELECTIONS TO SLIP BY WITHOUT SOME COMMENT ON THAT. THERE ARE SOME -- THERE WAS ONE RESOLVED OVER IN EASTERN IOWA, THAT IS IN THE OELWEIN AREA, AND A DEMOCRAT WON THAT. BUT THERE ARE TWO OTHERS COMING UP.

Russell: REPRESENTATIVE MERLIN BARTZ, WHO REPRESENTS PARTS OF NORTHERN IOWA, I BELIEVE THAT HE WAS THROWN INTO ANOTHER DISTRICT WITH ANOTHER SENATOR. SO HE HAS TAKEN THE POSITION IN WASHINGTON. AND THEN, SENATOR JOANN JOHNSON, FROM THE WESTERN SUBURBS OF DES MOINES, HAS ALSO TAKEN A POSITION WITH THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT. SO THERE WILL BE RACES THERE.

Yepsen: KEEP AN EYE ON THAT MERLIN BARTZ SEAT UP IN NORTHERN IOWA, DEAN, BECAUSE THAT'S A MARGINAL SEAT. IT COULD GO EITHER WAY. DEMOCRATS ARE SHOWING IN THESE SPECIAL ELECTIONS THEY'VE GOT A BETTER TURNOUT OPERATION. I THINK REPUBLICANS HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT WHAT THAT MEANS FOR THEM IN THE FALL OF '02. BUT KEEP AN EYE ON THAT BARTZ SEAT, BECAUSE IF THE DEMOCRATS WIN THAT, I THINK IT PROVES THE DEMOCRATS ARE HEADED FOR SOME GOOD VICTORIES THIS FALL.

Glover: CONTROL OF THE LEGISLATURE IS NOT AT STAKE IN THESE ELECTIONS, BUT MOMENTUM AND BRAGGING RIGHTS ARE VERY MUCH AT STAKE. AND YOU'LL FIND THAT THEY'RE PUTTING A LOT OF EFFORT INTO THIS, BECAUSE IF YOU WIN A COUPLE OF SPECIAL ELECTIONS, THEN THIS SUMMER, WHEN YOU GET OUT AND START RECRUITING CANDIDATES --

Yepsen: OR RAISING MONEY.

Glover: -- OR RAISING MONEY, YOU CAN GO TO THESE INTEREST GROUPS AND SAY, "HEY, WE'RE ON A ROLL. WE WON A COUPLE OF THESE SPECIAL ELECTIONS. WE JUST MIGHT PULL THIS OFF."

Borg: GO AHEAD, JOYCE.

Russell: YOU GO AHEAD BECAUSE I WAS CHANGING THE SUBJECT.

Borg: WELL, I'LL ASK YOU, THEN. WITH WHAT'S HAPPENING THERE -- WE'RE BEEN SAYING MAYBE IT'S A HARBINGER -- ANY EFFECT ON THE GUBERNATORIAL RACE? NOW, DOUG GROSS JUMPED IN THIS WEEK, AND I WANT YOU TO COMMENT ON THAT TOO.

Russell: WELL, REPRESENTATIVE STEVE SUKUP, AS YOU KNOW, IS A REPUBLICAN LEGISLATOR AND HE'S A CANDIDATE FOR GOVERNOR. SO WHAT YOU'RE SEEING IS LEGISLATIVE SUPPORTERS OF HIS ARE SORT OF RALLYING AROUND HIM EVEN MORE, NOW THAT THERE IS A MORE FORMIDABLE CANDIDATE IN THE RACE.

Glover: ONE OF THE THINGS THAT YOU FOUND IS THAT PRIOR TO DOUG GROSS ENTERING THE RACE, DOUG GROSS IS A FORMER CHIEF OF STAFF TO FORMER GOVERNOR TERRY BRANSTAD, WORKED FOR FORMER GOVERNOR BOB RAY AS WELL. AND FORMER GOVERNOR BRANSTAD IS HEAVILY INVOLVED IN THIS RACE. HE'S RAISING MONEY AND ORGANIZING ON HIS BEHALF. WHEN GROSS ENTERED THE RACE, HE FOUND MEMBERS OF THE LEGISLATURE ENERGIZED TO GET BEHIND THE SUKUP CANDIDACY, BECAUSE SUDDENLY THEY VIEWED DOUG GROSS AS TERRY BRANSTAD RETURNING TO THE GOVERNOR'S OFFICE. IF ONE OF THEIR OWN GETS ELECTED GOVERNOR, THEY'RE -- IF GROSS GETS ELECTED TO GOVERNOR, THEY'RE VIEWING THAT AS A RETURN TO THE BRANSTAD DAYS.

Yepsen: ONE OF THE THINGS THAT THESE HARD ECONOMIC TIMES HAVE DONE IS THAT THEY'VE SHOWN SOME OF TOM VILSACK'S VULNERABILITIES. I MEAN, HE'S AHEAD TWO TO ONE IN THE POLLING, BUT HIS POLL NUMBERS HAVE BEEN FLAT. AND REPUBLICANS ARE STARTING TO THINK, HEY, MAYBE WE'VE GOT A SHOT AT THIS GUY. AND DOUG GROSS'S CANDIDACY HAS SORT OF ENERGIZED SOME OF THESE PEOPLE. THERE'S CERTAINLY MORE TALK ABOUT IT THAN THERE HAS BEEN.

Borg: JUST A FINAL IN PASSING. WE HAVE JUST A FEW SECONDS LEFT, JENEANE. THE TOM HARKIN, GANSKE, AND IS IT BILL SALIER?

Beck: MM-HMM.

Borg: TELL ME ABOUT THAT, HOW THAT'S GOING.

Beck: WELL, I DON'T HEAR MUCH FROM GREG GANSKE'S CAMPAIGN, AND I HAVE TALKED TO THEM ON MORE THAN ONE OCCASION ABOUT GETTING ON THEIR FAX LIST, GETTING ON THEIR E-MAIL LIST. THE FACT THAT HE STILL HASN'T FOUND TIME TO CONTACT HALF THE MEDIA MAKES ME QUESTION HOW THAT'S GOING. AND BILL SALIER, WELL, I THINK HE HAS A FEW HARD-CORE REPUBLICANS BEHIND HIM, BUT HE DOESN'T HAVE ANY NAME RECOGNITION YET.

Yepsen: BILL SALIER IS GOING TO SURPRISE PEOPLE BEFORE THIS IS OVER WITH. GREG GANSKE IS, I THINK -- GREG GANSKE NEEDS TO START WORRYING ABOUT THE REPUBLICAN PRIMARY BEFORE HE STARTS WORRYING ABOUT TOM HARKIN.

Borg: THANK YOU, ALL. I HAVE TO CUT YOU OFF. SAVE THAT TILL NEXT TIME, MIKE. WE'LL BE TRACKING THE ISSUES THAT WE'VE DISCUSSED HERE AS THE LEGISLATIVE SESSION AND THE ELECTION CONTINUES. THAT'S IT FOR THIS WEEK'S EDITION OF "IOWA PRESS." I HOPE YOU'LL JOIN US NEXT WEEK. OUR GUEST AT THAT TIME IS GOING TO BE DOUG GROSS. HE'S, AS WE JUST SAID, SEEKING THE GOP NOMINATION FOR GOVERNOR. YOU'LL KNOW THAT "IOWA PRESS" NOW AIRS 6:30 FRIDAY EVENINGS AND AT NOON ON SUNDAY. UNTIL WE SEE YOU AGAIN, I'M DEAN BORG. THANKS FOR JOINING US TODAY.

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