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Iowa Press #2935
April 26 and 28, 2002

Borg: BATTLE LINES ARE DRAWN, COMBATANTS ARE DUG IN, WINNERS IN THE STATE BUDGET SHOWDOWN ARE YET TO BE DETERMINED. WE'LL DISCUSS THE POLITICAL IMPASSE WITH HOUSE REPUBLICAN MAJORITY LEADER CHRISTOPHER RANTS AND HOUSE DEMOCRATIC MINORITY LEADER RICHARD MYERS ON THIS EDITION OF "IOWA PRESS."

ANNOUNCER: FUNDING FOR "IOWA PRESS" HAS BEEN PROVIDED BY "FRIENDS" OF IOWA PUBLIC TELEVISION; BY THE IOWA BANKERS ASSOCIATION... FOR PERSONAL, BUSINESS AND COMMERCIAL NEEDS, IOWA BANKS HELP IOWANS REACH THEIR FINANCIAL GOALS; BY THE ASSOCIATED GENERAL CONTRACTORS OF IOWA... THE PUBLIC'S PARTNER IN BUILDING IOWA'S HIGHWAY, BRIDGE, AND MUNICIPAL UTILITY INFRASTRUCTURE; AND BY IOWA NETWORK SERVICES AND YOUR LOCAL INDEPENDENT TELEPHONE COMPANY...IOWA NETWORK SERVICES, YOUR CLOSEST CONNECTION.

ON STATEWIDE IOWA PUBLIC TELEVISION, THIS IS THE FRIDAY, APRIL 26 EDITION OF "IOWA PRESS." HERE IS DEAN BORG.

Borg: LAST MONDAY'S ONE-DAY SPECIAL LEGISLATIVE SESSION UNDERSCORES THE ENTRENCHED POSITIONS OF DEMOCRATIC GOVERNOR TOM VILSACK AND THE REPUBLICAN CONTROLLED IOWA LEGISLATURE. THE ISSUE, OF COURSE, IS THE STATE'S BUDGET FOR FISCAL 2003, WHICH IS SUPPOSED TO START PAYING THE BILLS ON JULY 1. SO FAR COMPROMISE HAS ELUDED THE TWO SIDES. THE SPECIAL LEGISLATIVE SESSION CALLED BY GOVERNOR TOM VILSACK ON MONDAY, APRIL 22, ACCOMPLISHED LITTLE MORE THAN A ROUND TRIP TO THE STATEHOUSE FOR THE 150 SENATORS AND REPRESENTATIVES. AND AT WEEK'S END, MORE BAD NEWS: THERE ISN'T ENOUGH MONEY IN THE CURRENT YEAR'S BUDGET TO PAY THE HIGHER-THAN-EXPECTED INCOME TAX REFUNDS TO IOWANS. WE'VE INVITED TWO LEGISLATIVE LEADERS TO HELP DEFINE THE ISSUES AND PREDICT THE OUTCOME. REPUBLICAN CHRISTOPHER RANTS OF SIOUX CITY LEADS THE MAJORITY PARTY IN THE IOWA HOUSE, AND RICHARD MYERS OF IOWA CITY LEADS THE HOUSE MINORITY DEMOCRATS. GENTLEMEN, DIFFICULT CIRCUMSTANCES, BUT WELCOME BACK TO "IOWA PRESS."

Myers: THANK YOU.

Borg: AND ACROSS THE "IOWA PRESS" TABLE: "DES MOINES REGISTER" POLITICAL COLUMNIST DAVID YEPSEN AND "RADIO IOWA" NEWS DIRECTOR KAY HENDERSON.

Henderson: GENTLEMEN, DEAN MENTIONED IT, MORE BAD FINANCIAL NEWS ON THURSDAY; IOWA INCOME TAX REFUNDS ARE SIGNIFICANTLY HIGHER THAN WHAT THE EXPERTS HAD PREDICTED, LEAVING YOU SOMETHING LIKE A $50-MILLION HOLE IN THE CURRENT YEAR'S BUDGET. WHAT ARE YOUR OPTIONS FOR FIXING THAT, REPRESENTATIVE RANTS?

Rants: I HOPE, FIRST OF ALL, THAT IT IS ONLY A $50-MILLION HOLE. WE'VE GOT TWO THINGS GOING ON, ONE BEING THAT TAX REFUNDS ARE HIGHER THAN EXPECTED. WE CAN TALK ABOUT WHY THAT IS IF YOU WANT, BUT THE OTHER THING IS THAT REVENUE RECEIPTS COMING IN ARE RUNNING LOWER THAN EXPECTED. YOU KNOW, OUR BUDGET IS BUILT ON A NEGATIVE GROWTH OF .7 PERCENT. RIGHT NOW, AS OF FRIDAY MORNING, IT IS RUNNING NEGATIVE 1.4, ALMOST TWICE AS DEEP AS WHERE WE NEED TO BE. SO I'M ASSUMING THAT WE WILL PROBABLY SEE A SHORTFALL OF $60-, $65 MILLION. THE FIRST AVENUE THAT IS OUT THERE FOR US AND THE GOVERNOR IS THE USE OF THE ECONOMIC EMERGENCY FUND. REPUBLICANS HAVE BEEN SAYING FOR QUITE A WHILE NOW, THIS IS THE KIND OF THING THAT YOU HAVE THOSE RESERVES FOR. YOU DON'T SPEND IT TO BUILD IN NEW SPENDING FOR NEW PROGRAMS. YOU SAVE IT FOR THESE KINDS OF SHORTFALLS. AND I THINK THAT OUR FISCAL PRUDENCE HAS NOW BEEN JUSTIFIED BY THAT. THE GOVERNOR HAS THE ABILITY; WE GAVE HIM THE ABILITY IN THE SPECIAL SESSION LAST NOVEMBER TO GRAB $50 MILLION FROM THAT TO SHORE UP THE BUDGET. I WOULD HOPE THAT THIS ADMINISTRATION WOULD FIND A WAY TO MANAGE ANY $5- TO $10-MILLION SHORTFALL, WHETHER IF IT'S TRYING TO COME UP WITH MORE REVERSIONS OR LOOKING AT FURLOUGHS OR SOMETHING LIKE THAT. BUT THERE'S NOT A LOT OF ROOM TO MAKE ANY CUTS IN THE LAST SIX WEEKS OF THE FISCAL YEAR.

Henderson: REPRESENTATIVE MYERS, ANOTHER FINANCIAL HEADACHE. WHAT'S THE PRESCRIPTION?

Myers: WELL, FIRST OF ALL, THE GOVERNOR HAS TAKEN SOME PREEMPTIVE STEPS WITH THE DEPARTMENT HEADS TO ASK THEM TO INCREASE THE AMOUNT OF MONEY THAT THEY COULD SEND BACK TO THE BUDGET BY CUTTING EXPENSES AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE. I DON'T KNOW EXACTLY WHAT THAT'S GOING TO MEAN YET. BUT I THINK WHAT THIS THINK REALLY -- THIS WHOLE DEBACLE SORT OF ACCENTUATES TO ME IS OUR SYSTEM HAS FAILED US AGAIN. THIS IS ABOUT THE FIFTH TIME THAT WE HAVE DEALT WITH THIS JUST IN THIS YEAR. AND I KNOW THAT WE DIDN'T HAVE ANY CONTROL OVER WHAT'S HAPPENING WITH THE ECONOMY, BUT OUR ABILITY TO FORECAST I THINK NEEDS TO BE REVIEWED. AND THAT MEANS MAYBE NOT JUST PEOPLE INSIDE THE STATEHOUSE DOING IT BUT PEOPLE WHO ARE MORE TRAINED TO DO THAT. AND I NOTE THAT THE GOVERNOR HAS DECIDED TO BRING IN AN OUTSIDER TO HELP MAKE THIS DECISION. I DON'T KNOW WHETHER YOU CAN FIND A PERSON OR NOT ONE WAY OR ANOTHER WHO IS A SO-CALLED EXPERT ON THIS, BUT I CAN TELL YOU ONE THING, THE WAY WE'RE DOING IT ISN'T WORKING.

Yepsen: WELL, MR. MYERS, HOW ABOUT JUST SOME GOOD, OLD-FASHIONED, IOWA COMMON SENSE. YOU GET OUTSIDE THE STATE CAPITAL AND TALK TO A LIVESTOCK PRODUCER OR A MAINSTREAM BUSINESSPERSON, AND THEY COULD HAVE TOLD YOU THAT THE ECONOMY OF IOWA WAS IN THE TANK AND IT WAS HURTING. SO WHY DON'T YOU JUST ADD A DIRT FARMER TO THE REVENUE ESTIMATING CONFERENCE?

Myers: FIRST OF ALL, I THINK THE LAW CALLS YOU TO BE HIGH BOUND BY THE NUMBERS THAT YOU SEE IN FRONT OF YOU, AND I DON'T THINK THERE'S MUCH ROOM IN THE LAW FOR HAVING THAT SO-CALLED COMMON SENSE. BUT REGARDLESS, FORECASTS OF THIS REVENUE SHORTFALL FROM REFUNDS, YOU KNOW, I THINK SOME OF THIS COULD HAVE BEEN PREDICTED A LITTLE BIT IF YOU'D LOOK AT WHAT WAS HAPPENING IN THE STOCK MARKET, THAT PEOPLE WERE NOT MAKING AS MUCH MONEY FROM THEIR -- IN THEIR CAPITAL GAINS EFFORTS. I THINK IN A WAY THAT'S WHY THE SYSTEM NEEDS TO BE CHANGED.

Yepsen: WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO DO?

Rants: DAVID, WE SHOULD INCLUDE SOME MORE OUTSIDE PERSPECTIVES ON THAT. I WOULD HOPE THAT THE REVENUE ESTIMATING CONFERENCE WOULD ASK MORE FOLKS, WHETHER THEY BE ECONOMISTS FROM OUR UNIVERSITIES, SOME CEOs, SOME BUSINESS FOLKS WHO DEAL WITH THIS ON A DAILY BASIS, TO DO THAT, TO ASK FOR THAT INPUT. BUT REMEMBER, WE'RE TALKING ABOUT A SYSTEM WHERE YOU ARE TRYING TO PICK A NUMBER OF WHAT REVENUES ARE GOING TO BE EIGHTEEN MONTHS IN ADVANCE. THAT'S LIKE YOU AND I TRYING TO PICK WHO'S GOING TO WIN THE SUPERBOWL IN 2004. YOU'RE GOING TO LOOK AT THAT INFORMATION AND MAKE YOUR BEST ESTIMATE THAT YOU CAN, BUT YOU HAVE TO BE FLEXIBLE ABOUT THAT. THE REAL PROBLEM IS NOT WHAT THE NUMBER IS, IT'S THE FACT THAT WE HAVE A SITUATION WHERE GOVERNOR VILSACK CONTINUES TO ASK THE LEGISLATURE TO SPEND MORE MONEY THAN WHATEVER THE REVENUE ESTIMATING CONFERENCE SAYS IS AVAILABLE. AND THAT'S WHERE WE GET INTO CREATING THESE HOLES FOR OURSELVES IN THE FUTURE.

Yepsen: MR. RANTS, WE SHOULD MAKE IT CLEAR TO OUR VIEWERS WE'RE TALKING ABOUT THE FISCAL 2002 BUDGET YEAR.

Rants: THAT'S RIGHT.

Yepsen: THAT'S THE BUDGET THAT ENDS ON JUNE 30 OF THIS YEAR. LOOK TO THE NEXT YEAR, FISCAL YEAR 2003. YOU TALK ABOUT THE GOVERNOR WANTING TO SPEND MORE MONEY. WHAT IS THE CONDITION OF IOWA'S FINANCES FOR 2003?

Rants: WE'RE GOING TO HAVE TO -- I'M HOPEFUL AND I'M OPTIMISTIC THAT WE WILL ONLY SEE A SHORTFALL IN 2002 OF APPROXIMATELY $60- TO $65 MILLION. THAT WILL HAVE AN IMPACT ON 2003 --

Yepsen: WHICH YOU CAN TAKE OUT OF THE EMERGENCY FUND.

Rants: -- WHICH CAN BE TAKEN OUT OF THE EMERGENCY FUND SO THAT WE CAN MINIMIZE THE IMPACT ON 2003. REMEMBER, WE HAVE A BUDGET THAT IS SITTING ON THE GOVERNOR'S DESK NOW AWAITING HIS SIGNATURE. HE HAS UNTIL THE 12TH OF MAY TO MAKE A DECISION ON THAT. AND I WOULD HOPE THAT THE EVENTS OF THIS LAST WEEK WOULD UNDERSCORE WHAT WE'VE BEEN SAYING FOR A WHILE. WE HAVE THE GOVERNOR COMING IN AND ASKING US TO SPEND $60 MILLION IN NEW MONEY ON MONDAY. ON THURSDAY THE DEPARTMENT OF REVENUE AND FINANCE SAYS WE'RE SHORT $60 MILLION. THAT'S WHAT REPUBLICANS HAVE BEEN SAYING ALL ALONG IS THAT THERE SIMPLY ISN'T MORE MONEY TO SPEND. I WOULD HOPE THAT WE WOULD PUT THIS BUDGET BATTLE TO REST NOW AND THAT GOVERNOR VILSACK WOULD SIGN THAT BUDGET, AND LET'S START WORKING FOR THE FUTURE.

Yepsen: MR. MYERS, WHAT SHOULD THE GOVERNOR DO, SIGN IT OR VETO IT AND HAVE YOU START ALL OVER?

Myers: WELL, I'M NOT SURE WHAT THE GOVERNOR IS GOING TO DO YET. I KNOW THAT HE'S TAKING A LOOK AT THOSE BILLS RIGHT NOW AND SEEING WHAT WILL WORK AND WHAT WILL NOT WORK. I WILL SAY THIS MUCH: REGARDLESS OF WHAT HE DOES, WE NEED TO HAVE A PLAN BEFORE WE'D EVER DECIDE TO CALL INTO ANY SORT OF SPECIAL SESSION. THERE'S NO DOUBT IN MY MIND ABOUT THAT. WE NEED TO DECIDE WHAT WE CAN WORK TOGETHER TO SOLVE. AND IF WE CAN'T SOLVE IT, THEN I WOULD RECOMMEND THAT HE NOT CALL A SPECIAL SESSION. BUT IF THERE'S A PLAN -- I THINK THERE'S SOME THINGS IN THAT BUDGET, FRANKLY, THAT NEED TO BE CORRECTED, BUT ONLY IF WE HAVE AN AGREEMENT BETWEEN THE PARTIES. WHAT IT REALLY EMPHASIZES TO ME IS THAT THIS BUDGET PROBLEM HAS NOT BEEN PUT TO REST BECAUSE OF A WHOLE HOST OF REASONS. I'VE BEEN CRITICIZING THE REPUBLICAN MAJORITY FOR THE PROCESS THAT WE DID. BUT REGARDLESS OF THAT, WE NEED TO GET TOGETHER AND WORK THIS OUT, AND WE HAVEN'T DONE THAT YET.

Henderson: WHAT SORT OF EFFECT DO THESE ALMOST DAILY RELEASES ABOUT HOW BAD THE STATE'S FINANCES ARE -- WHAT SORT OF EFFECT IS THAT HAVING ON THE STATE'S MOOD OF THE ELECTORATE AND OF PEOPLE WHO MAKE ECONOMIC DECISIONS TO SPEND MONEY? PEOPLE ARE OBVIOUSLY NOT SPENDING MONEY. ARE YOU WORRIED ABOUT THE EFFECT?

Rants: SOMETIMES BAD NEWS BREEDS MORE BAD NEWS. YOU CAN GET A DOWNWARD SPIRAL. I TEND TO BE OPTIMISTIC ABOUT THE FUTURE. I THINK WE'VE DONE SOME GOOD THINGS IN THIS LAST SESSION TO POSITION THE STATE TO MOVE FORWARD. WE TALK ABOUT VENTURE CAPITAL, SOME OF THE THINGS THAT WE'VE FOCUSED ON FOR ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT IN THIS STATE. BUT BEAR IN MIND, I THINK ONE OF THE REASONS WHY WE'RE SEEING TAX REFUNDS GO OUT AT SUCH A HIGHER RATE THAN WHAT WAS EXPECTED IS A LOT OF IOWANS DID NOT CHANGE THEIR WITHHOLDING TABLES, PARTICULARLY AFTER THE BUSH TAX CUT. IT MAY BE THAT IF IOWANS DIDN'T VOLUNTARILY CHANGE THEIR WITHHOLDING TABLE SO NOW THEY'RE GETTING THIS MONEY BACK, PERHAPS IN THE NEXT SESSION OF THE LEGISLATURE, WE NEED TO COME IN AND ADJUST THOSE WITHHOLDING TABLES SO IOWANS ARE KEEPING MORE MONEY IN THEIR POCKETS ON A MONTHLY BASIS RATHER THAN SENDING IT INTO THE STATE AND WE CAN KEEP SOME MONEY MOVING IN THE ECONOMY THAT WAY.

Borg: BUT LET'S BE HONEST ABOUT IT. WHAT THAT HAS DONE, THOUGH, IS BROUGHT MORE MONEY IN FOR YOU TO OPERATE IN THE FISCAL YEAR 2002.

Rants: BUT, DEAN, IT DOESN'T DO US ANY GOOD IF IT ALL COMES IN AND THEN WE HAVE TO RETURN IT ALL AT THE END. I WOULD RATHER HAVE THAT MONEY CIRCULATING THROUGH THE ECONOMY, THE GUY WHO'S GOING OUT TO THE LUMBERYARD, THE PEOPLE WHO ARE BUYING A NEW DISHWASHER, A NEW CAR, OR SOMETHING LIKE THAT. THAT'S BETTER FOR THE ECONOMY THAN TO HAVE IT ALL STORED UP IN THE STATE'S TREASURY.

Borg: REPRESENTATIVE MYERS, TO FOLLOW UP ON KAY'S QUESTION ON THE MOOD OF THE ELECTORATE, IS THIS MAKING IT MORE PALATABLE FOR A TAX INCREASE?

Myers: I DON'T THINK SO. I THINK THERE'S A LOT OF PEOPLE GETTING LAID OFF. THERE'S A LOT OF PEOPLE THAT HAVE HAD THEIR INCOMES -- THEIR JOBS FURLOUGHED OR WHATEVER. WE HAVE AN ECONOMY WHERE PEOPLE ARE HURTING, AND I DON'T THINK THERE'S ANY SENSE IN RAISING TAXES RIGHT NOW. BUT AS FAR AS THE MOOD IS CONCERNED, I FEEL LIKE REPRESENTATIVE RANTS; I AM OPTIMISTIC ABOUT WHAT'S GOING ON OUT THERE IN THE STATE. IT JUST MEANS THAT WE HAVE TO MANAGE OUR WAY THROUGH THIS, AND THAT MEANS GETTING TOGETHER AND WORKING TOGETHER, AND WE HAVEN'T BEEN DOING THAT.

Borg: WHAT ABOUT YOU, CHRISTOPHER RANTS? THERE'S BEEN SOME TALK THAT THE INCREASE -- PROPOSED INCREASE IN THE STATE SALES TAX THIS YEAR WAS DEFEATED BECAUSE THE STATE WANTS TO COME BACK AFTER THE ELECTION AND TAP THAT AS A REVENUE SOURCE.

Rants: NO. PART OF THE REPUBLICANS -- REPUBLICANS HAVE NO INTEREST IN RAISING TAXES AT ALL, PERIOD.

Myers: AND I CAN SEE CLEARLY THAT OUR CAUCUS -- YOU KNOW, THERE WERE SOME PEOPLE THAT WANTED TO CHANGE THE SALES TAX THING AND WANTED TO MAKE IT STATEWIDE AND SO ON IN BOTH CAUCUSES. I BELIEVE THERE WAS ABOUT 20 SOME VOTES IN EACH CAUCUS, FRANKLY. BUT REGARDLESS OF HOW MANY, REGARDLESS, I DO NOT WANT TO RAISE TAXES, AND I DON'T WANT TO RAISE SALES TAXES TO COVER UP A BAD LAW IN THE FIRST PLACE THAT WE PASSED ON LOCAL OPTION TAXES OF TWO YEARS AGO.

Yepsen: WHAT ABOUT THE CIGARETTE TAX? A LOT OF STATES ARE RAISING CIGARETTE TAXES RIGHT NOW.

Myers: WELL, I'M NOT INTERESTED IN RAISING TAXES. I'M GOING TO LEAVE IT AT THAT.

Henderson: REPRESENTATIVE RANTS, YOU SAID THAT I GUESS THE PRIMARY OPTION FOR RESOLVING THE PRESENT BUDGETING YEAR'S PROBLEM IS DIPPING INTO THE STATE'S SAVINGS ACCOUNT. WOULD THERE BE CONSIDERATION OF, PERHAPS, AN ACROSS-THE-BOARD CUT OR MORE FURLOUGHS OR PERHAPS SELECTED CUTS, MAYBE SHUTTING DOWN A FEW AGENCIES THAT ARE DEEMED NOT ESSENTIAL? ARE THOSE THINGS THAT ARE ON THE TABLE THAT YOU GUYS ARE DISCUSSING?

Rants: WELL, (A) THE DISCUSSIONS RIGHT NOW ARE GOING ON IN THE EXECUTIVE BRANCH. HE DOES HAVE THE ABILITY, AND WE GAVE HIM THE ABILITY, TO TAKE THAT $50 MILLION OUT OF THE EEF. I WOULD ENCOURAGE THE GOVERNOR TO LOOK AT THE OPTION OF FURLOUGHS. IT'S VERY DIFFICULT TO MAKE CUTS, WHETHER IT BE ACROSS-THE-BOARD OR ANYTHING ELSE, IN THE LAST SIX WEEKS OF THE FISCAL YEAR, BECAUSE MOST OF THE MONEY HAS ALREADY BEEN SPENT. YOU'RE DOWN TO BASICALLY SALARIES. I KNOW IN THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY THE IDEA OF FURLOUGHING STATE WORKERS IS VERY UNPOPULAR. WE'VE GONE THROUGH THAT FIGHT ALREADY. BUT MOST OF THE FURLOUGHS THAT THEY AGREED TO HAVE HAPPEN ARE OCCURRING IN MAY -- IN APRIL, WILL HAPPEN IN MAY. I DON'T ALWAYS AGREE WITH THE WAY THAT THEY'RE IMPLEMENTING THEM, BUT THEY'RE IMPLEMENTING THEM BECAUSE IT SAVES MONEY. THAT IS AN OPTION THAT THE GOVERNOR WOULD HAVE TO PURSUE IN THE MONTH OF JUNE, GOING DOWN TO THAT FINAL THIRTY DAYS TO TRY AND SAVE $5- OR $10- OR $15 MILLION TO KEEP THIS BUDGET IN BALANCE. I WOULD THINK THE GOVERNOR, LOOKING AT AN ELECTION COMING UP IN THE VERY NEAR FUTURE, WOULD WANT TO MAKE SURE THAT THE '02 BUDGET STAYS IN BALANCE, AND I WOULD ENCOURAGE HIM TO LOOK AT THAT.

Henderson: REPRESENTATIVE MYERS, WHAT DO YOU THINK?

Myers: WELL, YES, IT MUST STAND UP. WE'VE ALSO GOT TO REMEMBER THAT WE HAVE SOME RESPONSIBILITIES HERE. I MEAN RIGHT NOW THERE'S A LOT OF PLACES YOU CAN CALL THE STATE AGENCIES AND THE PHONES ARE NOT BEING ANSWERED. I REALLY AM CONCERNED ABOUT HOW OUR PRISONS ARE STAFFED, AND I'M TOLD THAT WE HAVE ABOUT THE SAME AMOUNT OF TROOPERS ON THE ROAD THAT WE HAD IN 1960. NOW, SOONER OR LATER THIS KIND OF STUFF VISITS ON THE ELECTORATE. THESE SERVICES ARE IN THE LAW, AND I THINK WE HAVE SOME RESPONSIBILITY THERE.

Yepsen: MR. MYERS, IN THE PAST WHEN THE STATE HAS GOTTEN INTO FINANCIAL TROUBLE, THERE'S BEEN ACCOUNTING TRICKS PERFORMED BY STATE OFFICIALS. IS THAT GOING TO HAPPEN AGAIN? ARE WE GOING TO SEE SCHOOL AID PAYMENTS DELAYED? ARE TAX REFUND PAYMENTS TO IOWANS RIGHT NOW GOING TO BE DELAYED? ARE WE GOING TO PAY OFF OUR SHORT-TERM NOTES ON JUNE 29 SO WE CAN SHOW A BALANCED BUDGET ON JUNE 30 AND THEN BORROW MORE MONEY ON JULY 1? ARE THOSE KIND OF ACCOUNTING GAMES AN OPTION HERE?

Myers: WELL, I KNOW THAT THE GOVERNOR IS DOING EVERYTHING HE CAN TO BE SURE THAT WE DON'T GET INTO THAT KIND OF MOVING FUNDS AROUND. I THINK THERE'S A LOT OF THINGS THAT CAN BE DISCUSSED. I'M TALKING ABOUT PAYING THINGS LATE.

Rants: YEAH, HE'S TALKING ABOUT TAKING $16 MILLION OUT OF THE ROAD FUND TO PROP UP THE '03 BUDGET!

Myers: YEAH, BUT THAT'S NOT WHAT HE'S TALKING ABOUT. HE'S TALKING ABOUT PAYING THINGS LATE. HE'S TALKING ABOUT --

Rants: YOU JUST SAID HE WASN'T GOING TO MOVE FUNDS AROUND!

Myers: BY THE WAY, YOU GUYS ALSO DECIDED TO USE ROAD FUNDS, YOU KNOW, WHEN YOU USED THE UNDERGROUND STORAGE TANK FUND. WHAT DO YOU THINK THAT CAME FROM, THE TOOTH FAIRY?!! THAT IS ROAD USE MONEY, BUDDY! THAT'S $18 MILLION BUCKS YOU TOOK OUT OF THERE, SO DON'T GIVE ME ANY NONSENSE ABOUT USING USE TAX, ALL RIGHT?!! YOU'RE ALREADY DOING IT.

Borg: DID I SAY, IN INTRODUCING THIS PROGRAM, "IMPASSE"? WE'VE JUST SEEN IT. DAVE?

Myers: NO, THIS IS NOT AN IMPASSE. THIS MEANS WE NEED TO GET TOGETHER AND WORK ON THINGS INSTEAD OF SITTING THERE AND PLAYING THE BLAME GAME ALL THE TIME.

Henderson: WELL, ARE YOU TALKING? HE JUST SAID THE DISCUSSIONS ARE GOING ON IN THE EXECUTIVE BRANCH. ARE YOU GUYS ACTUALLY DISCUSSING THIS?

Myers: WE HAVEN'T TALKED ABOUT THIS AS MUCH AS WE SHOULD HAVE, I'LL PUT IT THAT WAY. AND WE HAVE IN THE PAST. I NOTE THAT LAST NOVEMBER WE CAME IN, AND THE MAJORITY LEADER AND THE SPEAKER AND I AND ONE OF MY ASSISTANTS, WE GOT TOGETHER AND WE HELPED SOLVE THAT PROBLEM TOGETHER. AND WE CAME IN AND PASSED THAT LEGISLATION THAT WAS NECESSARY AT THAT TIME, WITH THE INFORMATION WE HAD, IN SHORT ORDER! AND WE DID IT LAST SUMMER TOO. WE CAN DO THAT AGAIN IF WE'RE WILLING TO WORK TOGETHER.

Yepsen: MR. RANTS, I WANT TO GO BACK TO MY QUESTION.

Rants: SURE.

Yepsen: ACCOUNTING TRICKS? ACCOUNTING GAMES?

Rants: THAT'S WHY WE ARE -- THAT'S WHY REPUBLICANS HAVE RESISTED, YOU KNOW, ROBBING THE ROAD FUND TO THE TUNE OF $60 MILLION THAT THE GOVERNOR HAS PROPOSED. YOU'RE JUST SETTING YOURSELVES UP FOR DIFFICULT PROBLEMS NEXT YEAR. IF WE'RE SHORT $60 MILLION THIS YEAR, WE'RE GOING TO ROB FROM THE ROAD FUND, WHERE ARE WE GOING TO MAKE UP NEXT YEAR THE MONEY THAT WE'RE SHORT THIS YEAR? WE ARE USING SOME ONE-TIME MONEY. I'M NOT PROUD OF THAT FACT, BUT WE'VE DONE IT TO FUND WHAT, DICK? K-12 EDUCATION. THE GOVERNOR HAS TALKED ABOUT ROBBING FROM THE ROAD FUND BECAUSE HE NEEDS TO PAY OFF THE STATE EMPLOYEES UNION BEFORE THIS FALL'S ELECTION. REPUBLICANS ARE NOT INTERESTED IN DOING THAT. THAT IS SOMETHING THAT --

Myers: WE CAN ALWAYS FALL BACK ON THE IDEA OF BASHING PUBLIC EMPLOYEES. THAT'S SEEMS LIKE A PRETTY --

Rants: THAT'S NOT BASHING PUBLIC EMPLOYEES!

Myers: WELL, IT IS BECAUSE --

Rants: THAT IS THE PURPOSE FOR WHICH THE GOVERNOR NEEDS THAT MONEY!

Myers: YOU USE A MAJORITIVE -- YOU USE A MAJORITIVE WAY TO ADDRESS THAT EVERY TIME YOU TALK ABOUT IT. I'M SICK AND TIRED OF BASHING PEOPLE THAT PERFORM A PUBLIC SERVICE, A VALUABLE PUBLIC SERVICE FOR US!

Yepsen: MR. MYERS, WHY DO DEMOCRATS WANT TO TAKE MONEY FROM THE ROAD FUND?

Myers: WELL, FIRST OF ALL, I THINK WHAT THE DEMOCRATS ARE SAYING IS THAT THE CHILDREN AND PUBLIC SAFETY AND THE EDUCATION OF THIS STATE IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN 20 MILES OF ROAD. HAVING SAID THAT, THERE ARE ALTERNATIVES THAT WE COULD EXPLORE AS WELL. ONE OF THE THINGS THAT WE COULD USE IS A RESTRICTED CAPITAL FUND. WE HAVE A FUND THAT'S ONLY TO BE USED -- $274 MILLION RIGHT NOW. IT'S IN THE TOBACCO RESTRICTED CAPITAL FUND. WE COULD USE THAT TO FUND A PROGRAM OF 20 MILES OF ROAD THIS YEAR AND TAKE THAT MONEY OUT OF THE USE TAX, NOT THE ROAD USE TAX, TO FUND GENERAL OPERATION. WE COULD DO THAT TO BUILD THAT 20 MILES OF ROAD.

Yepsen: MR. RANTS, WHAT'S WRONG WITH THAT?

Rants: THE LAST TIME WE WERE ON THIS SHOW, DICK, AND YOU I BOTH -- DAVID OR MIKE ASKED US THE QUESTION ABOUT TAKING MONEY FROM THE ROAD FUND. WE BOTH SAID WE WEREN'T INTERESTED IN DOING THAT.

Myers: WE BOTH SAID NO, THAT'S RIGHT.

Rants: AND YOU HAVE CHANGED YOUR POSITION.

Myers: THAT'S RIGHT.

Rants: IT IS NOT TO BE USED FOR K-12 EDUCATION. WE FUNDED -- FULLY FUNDED THE TEACHER QUALITY PROGRAM. WE FULLY FUNDED THE K-3 CLASS SIZE, BLOCK GRANT READING PROGRAMS. WE FULLY FUNDED ALLOWABLE GROWTH TO THE TUNE THAT THE GOVERNOR ASKED US TO DO. WE'RE NOT FUNDING SOME SCHOOL TECHNOLOGY FUNDS TO BUY MORE COMPUTERS. WE'RE NOT FULLY FUNDING THE PHASE THREE PROGRAM THAT TEACHERS USE TO GET ADVANCED DEGREES AND THINGS OF THAT NATURE, BUT WE ARE NOT GOING TO IMPACT KIDS UNDER THIS BUDGET. WE ARE PROTECTING CHILDREN IN THIS BUDGET, SO IT'S NOT ABOUT KIDS. WE'RE FULLY FUNDING HAWKEYE. WE'RE NOT GOING TO SEE KIDS DISENROLLED ON THAT.

Yepsen: THE CHILD INSURANCE PROGRAM.

Rants: HEALTH CARE PROGRAM FOR POOR CHILDREN. THIS IS A GOOD BUDGET THAT IS ON THE TABLE.

Myers: I DON'T BELIEVE --

Rants: TO TAKE THE ONE AREA THAT THE GOVERNOR CAN CRITICIZE REPUBLICANS FOR IS WE ARE NOT FULLY FUNDING THE SALARY BILL THAT HE NEGOTIATED AND HE ASKED FOR. WE'VE NEVER FULLY FUNDED IT. HE HASN'T ALWAYS FULLY FUNDED IT. THAT IS THE REASON THAT THE GOVERNOR IS TRYING TO TAKE THIS $60 MILLION OUT OF THE ROAD FUND.

Borg: AND JUST TO ELABORATE THERE -- AND I'LL LET YOU TALK IN A MINUTE, DICK MYERS. BUT IF YOU'RE NOT FULLY FUNDING THE EMPLOYEE SALARIES, YOU'RE ASKING THE AGENCIES TO FIND THAT MONEY SOMEPLACE ELSE. IT'S NOT THAT THE RAISES WON'T BE GIVEN.

Rants: THAT'S CORRECT. BUT AGAIN, THAT DOESN'T IMPACT OUR K-12 SYSTEM, THOUGH, SO IT'S NOT ABOUT K-12 EDUCATION.

Myers: THAT'S A BIT DISINGENUOUS WHEN YOU'VE GOT A BUDGET THAT'S 90 PERCENT SALARY AND YOU'RE SAYING CUT SOME MONEY OUT OF IT. WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO? PAPER CLIPS OR HAVE A BAKE SALE? LISTEN, LET'S GET REAL. WHEN YOU'RE CUTTING THESE BUDGETS, YOU ARE DECIDING THAT EMPLOYEES ARE NOT GOING TO BE THERE OR THEY'RE GOING TO BE FURLOUGHED. THAT'S ALL THERE IS TO IT, AND I THINK WE OUGHT TO BE REALISTIC ABOUT THAT. GO ON UP TO INDEPENDENCE TO THE MENTAL HEALTH CENTER UP THERE AND FIND OUT WHY THOSE SOCIAL WORKERS AND THOSE TEACHERS ARE BEING LAID OFF. BUT DON'T TELL ME IT'S NOT BECAUSE YOU DECIDED TO PASS SOME BUDGET THAT HAD A BIG NUMBER AND THAT YOU DIDN'T HAVE TO TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR SPECIFIC CUTS! I'M TAKING RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE FACT THAT THAT BUDGET AFFECTS PEOPLE!

Rants: THE FIRST PLACE YOU MIGHT LOOK TO MAKE THOSE SAVINGS, THOUGH, DICK, IS YOU MIGHT LOOK AT THE VACANT FTEs, WHAT WE CALL FULL-TIME EQUIVALENTS, AUTHORIZED AND FUNDED STATE EMPLOYEE POSITIONS, IN WHICH CASE THERE IS NO PERSON IN THERE. A COUPLE YEARS AGO, WE PASSED A BILL TO ELIMINATE ANY VACANT FTEs THAT HAVE BEEN OPEN, VACANT, FOR TWELVE MONTHS OR MORE, AND THE GOVERNOR VETOED THAT. WE HAVE RIGHT NOW A LOT OF VACANT FTE FULLY FUNDED POSITIONS IN STATE GOVERNMENT THAT COULD BE ELIMINATED IF THERE'S NO PERSON THERE HOLDING THAT JOB.

Myers: OUR CORRECTIONAL FACILITIES AREN'T JUST ABOUT CORRECTIONAL OFFICERS. THEY'RE ABOUT A WHOLE LOT OF OTHER PEOPLE THAT HAVE TO DO THE WORK INSIDE OF THAT. AND I THINK THAT'S AN OVERSIMPLIFICATION OF THE PROBLEM.

Yepsen: MR. MYERS, THE REPUBLICAN CANDIDATES FOR GOVERNOR ARE SAYING THAT THIS BUDGET PROBLEM IS EVIDENCE THAT GOVERNOR VILSACK IS INCOMPETENT TO RUN THE STATE'S FINANCES. WHAT DO YOU SAY IN RESPONSE TO THAT?

Myers: WELL, I SAY, ESPECIALLY WHEN COMPARED TO OTHER STATES, THIS STATE IS IN VERY GOOD SHAPE. AND THE IDEA THAT WE'RE RUNNING AROUND PLAYING LIKE THE SKY IS FALLING IS NUTS. THIS STATE IS IN GOOD SHAPE. WE JUST NEED TO MANAGE OUR WAY THROUGH THE PROCESS. I NOTE THAT TWENTY YEARS AGO WE HAD A SIMILAR SITUATION WHERE THE STATE WAS IN PRETTY BAD SHAPE WHEN GOVERNOR BRANSTAD AND A FELLA NAMED GROSS WAS INVOLVED IN THIS SITUATION. THEIR SOLUTION AT THAT TIME WAS TO SIGN A TAX CUT. THIS GOVERNOR SAID HE WILL NOT RAISE TAXES, UNLIKE HIS PREDECESSOR, AND THAT HE WILL TAKE STEPS TO MANAGE OUR WAY THROUGH IT. I THINK HE'S DOING THAT. AND YOU KNOW SOMETHING ELSE; I ALSO NOTE THAT SOME OF THOSE FOLKS RUNNING FOR GOVERNOR, ONE OF THEM IN PARTICULAR, MENTIONED $900-SOME-MILLION WORTH OF SURPLUS THAT EXISTED. BUT IT FAILED TO TAKE INTO CONSIDERATION THAT ABOUT $900 MILLION WAS CUT OUT OF THE REVENUE SYSTEM WITH TAX CUTS. NOW, THAT'S THE PAST, OKAY. THAT HAPPENED. THE ECONOMY WENT IN THE TANK. REGARDLESS OF WHAT HAPPENED, WE NEED TO MANAGE OUR WAY THROUGH IT. IT'S TIME TO STOP PLAYING THE BLAME GAME AND START WORKING TOGETHER.

Yepsen: WHAT TAXES WOULD DEMOCRATS WANT TO REINSTATE, MR. MYERS?

Myers: I'M NOT TAKING ANY RESPONSE -- PARDON ME. I'M NOT ABSOLVING ANYONE OF BLAME FOR PASSING THOSE TAX CUTS. DEMOCRATS VOTED FOR SOME OF THAT STUFF TOO. YOU BET. LET'S ACCEPT RESPONSIBILITY FOR IT. I DO. BUT WHAT I WANT TO DO IS SOLVE THE PROBLEM AND LOOK TO THE FUTURE.

Yepsen: MR. RANTS, HOW WOULD LIFE AND MANAGEMENT BE DIFFERENT UNDER A REPUBLICAN GOVERNOR?

Rants: WELL, WE'D PROBABLY HAVE SOME -- THERE WOULD STILL BE DIFFERENCES. I MEAN GOVERNORS -- WE HAD OUR OWN DIFFERENCES WITH GOVERNOR BRANSTAD WHEN HE WAS GOVERNOR, BUT WE AT LEAST HAD GOOD DIALOGUE ABOUT WHAT WAS GOING ON. AND EVEN THEN, WE STILL HAD A GOVERNOR THAT WANTED TO SPEND MORE MONEY THAN REPUBLICANS IN THE LEGISLATURE WANTED TO DO. BUT I DON'T THINK THAT WE WOULD HAVE A SITUATION WHERE WE ARE GOVERNING BY PRESS CONFERENCE OR WE'RE GOVERNING BY PRESS RELEASE, WHERE WE ANNOUNCE SPECIAL SESSIONS WITHOUT ANY DEALS ON THE TABLE OR ANY AGREEMENT. I DON'T THINK WE WOULD SEE THOSE KINDS OF CIRCUMSTANCES TAKING PLACE.

Henderson: YOU FOLKS ARE GOING TO BE RUNNING AROUND THE STATE PROMISING FOLKS, VOTERS, THINGS. WHAT WILL IT MEAN IF A VOTER CASTS A VOTE FOR A REPUBLICAN LEGISLATIVE CANDIDATE? WHAT DO THEY GET OUT OF THE DEAL?

Rants: I THINK -- I THINK A LOT OF VOTERS ARE GOING TO CAST VOTES FOR REPUBLICAN LEGISLATIVE CANDIDATES, ESPECIALLY AFTER WHAT WE'VE SEEN GO ON THIS YEAR. I MEAN YOU'VE GOT THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY THAT UNFORTUNATELY HAS CHOSEN TO JUST FOLLOW IN LOCKSTEP WITH GOVERNOR VILSACK NO MATTER HOW MANY TIMES THEY HAVE FOUND THEMSELVES TO BE PROVEN WRONG OVER THE STATE'S FINANCES. SO I THINK VOTERS ARE GOING TO WANT TO SEE REPUBLICANS RETURN TO THE LEGISLATURE TO KEEP AN EYE ON THAT CHECKBOOK. I THINK THE DIFFERENT CANDIDATES WILL BE RUNNING ON DIFFERENT ISSUES, BUT WE'RE GOING TO TALK ABOUT PROPERTY TAXES THIS COMING FALL AND THE NEED TO COMPLETELY REVAMP, ALMOST SCRAP THE CODE AND START FROM SCRATCH AND BUILD A NEW PROPERTY TAX FORMULA IN THIS STATE. THAT WILL MEAN SOMETHING TO THE VOTERS. YOU KNOW, EACH CANDIDATE WILL BRING ABOUT IT A DIFFERENT PIECE IN THEIR OWN CAMPAIGN, AND WE'LL BE LAYING THAT OUT OVER THE COURSE OF SEPTEMBER AND OCTOBER.

Henderson: DICK, WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO ELECT A DEMOCRAT?

Myers: I THINK WE'RE TALKING ABOUT A LEGISLATURE THAT WILL NOT BURY ITSELF IN TRIVIAL ISSUES, WORRYING ABOUT A LOT OF THINGS THAT REALLY DON'T HELP FIND ONE JOB, THAT DON'T CREATE -- OR EDUCATE ONE CHILD OR BRING ONE COMPANY TO THIS STATE. WE NEED -- WE'LL HAVE A LEGISLATURE, RATHER, THAT WILL STICK TO BASIC FUNDAMENTAL ISSUES. I WANT TO VISIT THE SCHOOL AID FORMULA, FOR EXAMPLE. THERE'S A LOT OF THINGS THAT WE NEED TO DO AS FAR AS REVAMPING HOW WE FINANCE THINGS. BUT REGARDLESS OF THAT FACT, REGARDLESS, I DON'T WANT TO SPEND TIME ON THINGS THAT REALLY DON'T HELP IMPROVE THE QUALITY OF LIFE OF THIS STATE. WE NEED TO STICK TO FUNDAMENTAL ISSUES.

Rants: BUT DICK YOU SAY THAT BUT, AT THE SAME TIME, THE REPUBLICANS THAT ARE RUNNING FOR REELECTION ARE GOING TO TALK ABOUT THE FACT THAT THEY PASSED A LANDMARK TEACHER QUALITY BILL AND THAT IS GOING TO EDUCATE CHILDREN --

Myers: AND THE DEMOCRATS WORKED WITH THEM.

Rants: WE PASSED A LANDMARK PIECE OF LEGISLATION WITH VENTURE CAPITAL THAT WILL CREATE JOBS IN THIS STATE.

Myers: AND DEMOCRATS WORKED TO DO THAT TOO!

Rants: AND THAT WE PASSED LANDMARK LEGISLATION TO PROTECT OUR WATER AND OUR AIR FROM LIVESTOCK CONFINEMENT ISSUES. HOW CAN YOU SAY THAT WE HAVEN'T ADDRESSED SIGNIFICANT ISSUES?

Myers: I'M NOT SAYING YOU DIDN'T ADDRESS ALL OF THEM, BUT I CAN SAY ONE THING, YOU SPENT AN AWFUL LOT OF TIME ON THINGS THAT DIDN'T MEAN MUCH: COVENANT MARRIAGE --

Rants: DIDN'T DEBATE IN THE HOUSE.

Myers: -- A MOMENT OF SILENCE, ALL THAT KIND OF STUFF. MAYBE THAT MADE SENSE TO SOME PEOPLE. BUT I CAN TELL YOU ONE THING, YOU TRUNCATED THE ENTIRE BUDGET PROCESS. I'VE SAID THAT OVER AND OVER AGAIN. WE DIDN'T REALLY DISCUSS THE BUDGET AT ALL. AND AS A MATTER OF FACT, EVEN AFTER YOU HAD THOSE LIMITED SUBCOMMITTEE MEETINGS, THE BUDGET THAT CAME OUT WASN'T WRITTEN BY THE SUBCOMMITTEES. IT WAS WRITTEN BY THE TWO APPROPRIATIONS CHAIRS WHO TRUNCATED THE ENTIRE PROCESS, SOME TEN PAGES WORTH. SO DON'T GIVE ME ANY NONSENSE ABOUT PEOPLE SITTING THERE AND WORKING TOGETHER. THEY DIDN'T DO THAT IN THE BUDGET.

Borg: REPRESENTATIVE RANTS, I'M GOING TO GO BACK TO SOME ISSUES HERE ON THE SESSION AND LOOK AHEAD. REFRESH MY MEMORY. AT THE BEGINNING OF THE SHOW, DID YOU SAY THAT A SPECIAL SESSION ISN'T NECESSARY, THAT THE GOVERNOR CAN FIND THE MONEY?

Rants: IT'S NOT NECESSARY.

Borg: SO YOU DON'T EXPECT AND YOU WOULDN'T URGE THE GOVERNOR TO CALL A SPECIAL SESSION TO DEAL WITH THIS CRISIS?

Rants: NO, UNLESS THE REVENUES DROP SO PRECIPITOUSLY THAT WE HAVE TO COME BACK AND ADJUST THE '03 BUDGET THAT WE JUST PASSED BECAUSE OUR BASE IN '02 WILL BE SMALLER AND IF THE REVENUE ESTIMATING CONFERENCE WERE TO LOWER THE REVENUE ESTIMATE FOR '03 THAT HE WOULD NEED US TO REVISE DOWNWARD THE '03 BUDGET. BUT I DON'T THINK THE GOVERNOR WILL DO THAT CONSIDERING HE'S ASKING US TO SPEND MORE AT THIS TIME.

Borg: REPRESENTATIVE MYERS, SPECIAL SESSION NECESSARY?

Myers: WELL, I THINK THE GOVERNOR NEEDS TO LOOK AT THAT BUDGET VERY CAREFULLY AND FIND OUT JUST EXACTLY WHAT ABSOLUTELY MUST BE DONE IF HE CAN'T SIGN IT. AND AS I SAID, HAVE AN AGREEMENT WITH THE MAJORITY PARTY BEFORE HE MAKES A DECISION LIKE THAT IF THAT'S POSSIBLE. MAYBE IT'S NOT. I MEAN THE SPECIAL SESSION, WE CAME IN READY TO WORK AS DEMOCRATS, BUT THERE WAS NO AGREEMENT SO NO ONE -- WE DIDN'T DO ANYTHING. AS FAR AS, YOU KNOW, THE '02 BUDGET, IT HAS AN EFFECT OF WHAT WE DO WITH '03. SO WE NEED TO LOOK AT WHAT THE EFFECT OF THIS NEW R.E.C. MEETING, THESE NEW NUMBERS HAVE ON '03. I AGREE WITH REPRESENTATIVE RANTS ABOUT THAT MUCH. WE NEED TO SEE IF THERE'S AN EFFECT ON THAT. I DON'T KNOW WHAT THAT IS YET.

Yepsen: MR. MYERS, WE'VE TALKED ABOUT THE '02 BUDGET. WE'VE TALKED ABOUT THE '03 BUDGET. I WANT YOU TO PUT YOUR CRYSTAL BALL IN FRONT OF YOU AND TALK ABOUT THE '04 BUDGET. THE NEXT LEGISLATURE THAT COMES INTO SESSION IN JANUARY OF REGULAR SESSION OF THE LEGISLATURE WILL DEAL WITH A BUDGET FOR FISCAL 2004. IS IT TIME FOR THE STATE TO START THINKING ABOUT GETTING RID OF SOME THINGS? IT STRIKES ME THAT FOR THE LAST FEW YEARS, YOU FOLKS HAVE DONE A PRETTY GOOD JOB OF TRYING TO SWEAT DOWN THE SIZE OF GOVERNMENT. I'M SURE THE STATE FINDS THE MOST EFFICIENT WAY TO BUY ITS PAPER CLIPS. IS IT NOW TIME, THOUGH, TO START GETTING RID OF SOMETHING, TO START SAYING TO AGENCIES, "WE'RE NOT GOING TO DO THIS ANYMORE BECAUSE WE DON'T HAVE THE MONEY OR WE DON'T HAVE THE PEOPLE"? MR. MYERS, ANY PROSPECT TO THAT?

Myers: YES. YOU KNOW, THE GOVERNOR PUT A BILL BEFORE THE LEGISLATURE THAT TALKED ABOUT STREAMLINING THE ADMINISTRATION -- ADMINISTRATIVE FUNCTIONS OF THE GOVERNMENT. THE MAJORITY PARTY DIDN'T SEE FIT TO TAKE THAT UP. IT WAS A BIG BILL, NO DOUBT ABOUT IT. BUT WE TOOK UP THE LIVESTOCK CONFINEMENT BILL SOME 150 OR -60 PAGES, WHATEVER IT WAS, WITH ONLY A WEEK OR TWO TO GO. I THINK WE MIGHT HAVE BEEN ABLE TO GET OUR ARMS AROUND THAT SORT OF THING. BUT REGARDLESS OF WHO DID WHAT WHEN, WE DO NEED TO LOOK AT WAYS TO STREAMLINE GOVERNMENT. THERE ISN'T ANY QUESTION ABOUT THAT. SOME OF THE THINGS THAT MIGHT HAVE BEEN NECESSARY TEN YEARS AGO OR EVEN FIVE YEARS AGO NEED TO BE LOOKED AT.

Yepsen: HAVE YOU GOT ANY SPECIFICS IN MIND?

Myers: NO, I DON'T. BUT STREAMLINING GOVERNMENT IS A GOOD PLACE TO START.

Rants: ONE OF THE GOOD THINGS ABOUT THIS COMING LEGISLATURE IS GOING TO BE YOU'RE GOING TO HAVE APPROXIMATELY 40 NEW FRESH FACES THAT HAVEN'T BEEN WED TO SOME PROJECT THAT THEY'VE BEEN INVOLVED WITH FOR THE LAST TWO, FOUR, SIX, EIGHT, TEN YEARS; THAT YOU'RE GOING TO HAVE A LOT OF NEW LEGISLATORS WHO WANT TO COME IN AND FIND OUT WAYS. YOU'RE RIGHT, DAVID, I'M ONE WHO SAYS YOU HAVE TO GO BACK -- NOT EVERYTHING WE HAVE DONE AS REPUBLICANS IS PERFECT. WE HAVE FOCUSED TOO MUCH ON TRYING TO JUST SQUEEZE DOWN RATHER THAN WHOLESALE ELIMINATION OF PROGRAMS. AND I THINK WE'VE NOW COME TO THE POINT THAT THAT IS THE ONLY OPTION WE'RE GOING TO HAVE. IF WE'RE LOOKING AT TOO MANY -- TOO MUCH BUILT-IN SPENDING AND NOT ENOUGH TAX RECEIPTS COMING IN TO PAY FOR IT IN THE '04 YEAR, WE ARE GOING TO HAVE TO LOOK AT WHOLESALE ELIMINATION OF PROGRAMS. AND THAT'S WHY I THINK YOU WILL ACTUALLY SEE THAT TAKE PLACE IN '04 BECAUSE YOU'RE GOING TO HAVE ALMOST HALF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY BE BRAND NEW AND THEY WON'T HAVE BEEN TIED OVER THE YEARS AND BECOME ADVOCATES FOR ANY ONE PARTICULAR PART OF STATE AGENCY.

Yepsen: THE SAME QUESTION I ASKED DICK MYERS, ANY SPECIFICITY HERE?

Rants: I DON'T HAVE ANY PARTICULAR INTEREST --

Yepsen: WHY DON'T YOU GUYS WANT TO ANSWER THE SPECIFIC QUESTION. ARE YOU AFRAID OF MAKING SOMEBODY MAD HERE?

Myers: NO. YOU KNOW, ONE OF THE THINGS I'VE NOTICED -- I'VE SERVED ON A LOT OF COMMITTEES AND WORKED ON A LOT OF DIFFERENT PIECES OF LEGISLATION IN MY TIME, NOT JUST IN THE LEGISLATURE BUT IN GOVERNMENT IN GENERAL. WE HAVE A HARD TIME GETTING RID OF ANYTHING THAT DOESN'T WORK, AND EVEN SIMPLE THINGS LIKE FORMS. THERE'S NO MESSAGE IN THIS NECESSARILY, BUT IT'S ALWAYS BUGGED ME A GREAT DEAL THAT WE SIT HERE AND PILE THINGS ON TOP OF SOMETHING AND DON'T GET RID OF THE STUFF THAT DOESN'T WORK. I THINK IT'S INCUMBENT UPON THE LEGISLATURE, REGARDLESS OF WHO GETS ELECTED, TO TAKE A LOOK AT THAT SORT OF THING AND DECIDE THERE ARE NO SACRED COWS, NONE, AND THEREFORE WE OUGHT TO LOOK AT EVERYTHING. AND YOU KNOW, AS A MATTER OF FACT, THOSE NEW IDEAS WITH AT LEAST 35, 40 PERCENT NEW LEGISLATORS, THERE'S A LOT OF GOOD IDEAS OUT THERE THAT WE HAVEN'T LOOKED AT YET.

Borg: THERE IS ONE THING ON THIS PROGRAM, WE DO HAVE THE DISCIPLINE OF BEING ABLE TO CUT PEOPLE OFF WHEN TIME IS UP, AND IT'S UP.

Rants: OKAY.

Borg: THANK YOU FOR BEING WITH US.

Rants: THANK YOU.

Myers: THANK YOU.

Borg: AND THAT'S IT FOR THIS WEEK'S EDITION OF "IOWA PRESS." WE'LL BE BACK NEXT WEEK: 6:30 FRIDAY NIGHT, NOON ON SUNDAY, HERE ON IOWA PUBLIC TELEVISION. UNTIL NEXT WEEK, I'M DEAN BORG. THANKS FOR JOINING US TODAY.

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