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Reporters Roundtable (#3022)
January 17, 2003

Borg: THE 2003 LEGISLATIVE SESSION IS UNDERWAY. WE'LL DISCUSS THE STATE'S AGENDA, THE VISIONARY SPEECHES OF THIS PAST WEEK, AND OTHER ITEMS WITH OUR TEAM OF IOWA STATEHOUSE REPORTERS ON THIS EDITION OF "IOWA PRESS."

FUNDING FOR THIS PROGRAM WAS PROVIDED BY "FRIENDS," THE IOWA PUBLIC TELEVISION FOUNDATION... GENERATIONS OF FAMILIES AND FRIENDS WHO FEEL PASSIONATE ABOUT THE PROGRAMS THEY WATCH ON 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.

ON STATEWIDE IOWA PUBLIC TELEVISION, THIS IS THE FRIDAY, JANUARY 17 EDITION OF "IOWA PRESS." HERE IS DEAN BORG. >>

Borg: IT'S BEEN A BUSY WEEK AT THE IOWA STATEHOUSE. ON MONDAY THE LEGISLATURE WAS GAVELED INTO SESSION. ON TUESDAY THE LEGISLATORS HEARD GOVERNOR TOM VILSACK DELIVER HIS ANNUAL "CONDITION OF THE STATE ADDRESS." AND FRIDAY IT WAS INAUGURATION DAY FOR GOVERNOR VILSACK AND LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR SALLY PEDERSON. NOW, YOU MIGHT SAY, THE WORK BEGINS. THE EXECUTIVE AND LEGISLATIVE BRANCHES OF IOWA GOVERNMENT, FOR EXAMPLE, WILL HAVE TO FIND A WAY TO BRIDGE A PROJECTED BUDGET DEFICIT OF SOME $400 MILLION. THE JOURNALISTS AT THE "IOWA PRESS" TABLE WITH ME HAVE COVERED THE EVENTS OF THIS PAST WEEK AND THE ISSUES AND THE PERSONALITIES INVOLVED: "DES MOINES REGISTER" POLITICAL COLUMNIST DAVID YEPSEN; "KUNI PUBLIC RADIO" STATEHOUSE CORRESPONDENT JENEANE BECK; "ASSOCIATED PRESS" SENIOR POLITICAL AND LEGISLATIVE REPORTER MIKE GLOVER, AND "WOI PUBLIC RADIO" STATEHOUSE REPORTER JOYCE RUSSELL. WELL, I, JOYCE SAID THIS WEEK CHRONICLED ALL THE THINGS THAT HAPPENED. BUT IF YOU LOOK AT THEM, MOST OF THEM WERE GOVERNOR VILSACK ORIENTED. DID HE SEIZE THE OPPORTUNITY?

Russell: IT WAS A GREAT WEEK FOR GOVERNOR VILSACK. I THINK THAT WE'RE ALL WAITING FOR DETAILS, BUT I THINK HE DID SEIZE THE OPPORTUNITY TO THE EXTENT THAT HE MADE MAKING IOWA GROW THE CORNERSTONE OF HIS AGENDA AND IS GETTING CONSENSUS ON THAT FROM REPUBLICAN LAWMAKERS. AND HE WASN'T AFRAID TO PUT THE BIG IDEAS ON THE TABLE, INCLUDING SUNSETTING IOWA'S PROPERTY TAX SYSTEM.

Glover: TO THE EXTENT THAT IT WAS POSSIBLE, GIVEN THE CIRCUMSTANCES HE FOUND HIMSELF, DEAN, YES, HE DID SEIZE THE MOMENT; BUT THAT'S A LIMITED VICTORY, I THINK, ON HIS PART. HE SEIZED THE MOMENT AND IT WAS ALL ABOUT HIM THE WHOLE WEEK TO SAY HERE ARE THE TOP-DRAWER ITEMS I WANT TO FOCUS ON. THE TAX CODE IS AN IMPEDIMENT; LET'S FIX IT. WHAT WE'VE DONE WITH THE ECONOMY IS NOT WORKING; LET'S FIX THAT TOO. A BROAD AGREEMENT. EVERYBODY AGREES ON THAT. WHAT HE DIDN'T HAVE, DEAN, WAS THAT HERE'S HOW WE DO IT. THAT'S WHERE THE RUBBER HITS THE ROAD, AND THAT'S WHERE THE TROUBLE STARTS, BECAUSE I CAN TELL YOU A LARRY MCKIBBEN, A CONSERVATIVE REPUBLICAN, WANTS TO REFORM THE TAX CODE, AND HE'S GOT A LOT DIFFERENT IDEA THAN TOM VILSACK. HAD HE HAD THOSE CONCRETE IDEAS ON THE TABLE THIS WEEK, WITH THE ATTENTION HE WAS GETTING, GIVEN HE HAD JUST WON A PRETTY SOLID REELECTION, HE MIGHT HAVE ADVANCED THAT AGENDA.

Borg: JENEANE, MIKE HAS JUST INTRODUCED A NEW ELEMENT HERE IN OUR DISCUSSION OF THAT FIRST QUESTION: DID HE SEIZE THE OPPORTUNITY? THE ANALOGY I WOULD MAKE TO WHAT MIKE WAS SAYING IS "SUGAR IN THE MEDICINE." WE GOT THE SUGAR THIS WEEK. THE MEDICINE IS YET TO COME IN THE WAY OF THAT BUDGET MESSAGE.

Beck: I UNDERSTAND WHAT YOU'RE SAYING, MIKE, ABOUT WILL HIS MESSAGE BE DILUTED BECAUSE HE DIDN'T PUT ENOUGH DETAILS OUT THERE AND THESE OTHER PEOPLE CAN COME IN WITH THEIR OWN MESSAGE NOW. WHAT THE GOVERNOR SAID AND WHAT SOME OF THE REPUBLICAN LEADERS SAID IS THAT THEY WANT TO, HOWEVER, PUT THOSE PIECES TOGETHER AS A GROUP, VERSUS THE GOVERNOR LAYS OUT HIS PLAN AND THEY LAY OUT THEIR PLAN AND AND THEN THEY SOMEHOW TRY TO MAKE THEM MESH TOGETHER. THEY SAID THEY WANT TO SIT DOWN TOGETHER, AND IT'S YET TO BE SEEN IF THAT CAN HAPPEN.

Yepsen: YOU SAID "SUGAR," DEAN, AND I THINK THAT'S WHAT THIS INAUGURAL SPEECH CERTAINLY WAS. IT WAS A LOT OF COTTON CANDY. I MEAN THERE WAS A LOT OF FLUFF IN THAT THING. I DON'T KNOW HOW MANY TIMES DO WE HAVE TO HEAR THE TOM VILSACK LOVES CHRISTIE STORY, BUT WE GOT IT AGAIN. I THINK THE GOVERNOR DID MISS AN OPPORTUNITY HERE TO, AS MIKE SAID, LAY SOME DETAILS IN FRONT OF IOWANS. WE ALL WANT IOWA TO GROW. WE ALL KNOW IOWANS NEED TO CHANGE, BUT EXACTLY WHAT NEEDS TO HAPPEN, HOW DO WE GET THERE, WHAT ARE THE TOUGH CHOICES THAT HAVE TO BE MADE? IF YOU WANT TO TALK ABOUT TAX REFORM, DEAN, YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT DOING AWAY WITH HOMESTEAD AND AG LAND TAX EXEMPTIONS. YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT DOING AWAY WITH FEDERAL DEDUCTABILITY. THAT'S TOUGH STUFF AND IT'S TIME THE GOVERNOR STARTED LAYING SOME DETAIL ON PEOPLE TO START PUSHING THIS BALL DOWN THE ROAD. I THOUGHT THE ONLY NEWS THAT HE MADE OUT OF THAT INAUGURAL SPEECH WAS HIS CALL FOR A LITTLE LOGROLLING, THAT WE'RE GOING TO DO FAITH-BASED PROGRAMS AND WE'RE GOING TO DO CIVIL RIGHTS FOR GAYS. I'D NEVER HEARD HIM SAY THAT BEFORE. I THOUGH IT WAS AN INTERESTING CONCEPT, AND I THOUGHT IT WAS A PRETTY GOOD IDEA.

Borg: LET'S GO BACK TO THE SUGAR. I'M INTERESTED IN WHAT YOU'RE SAYING THERE, DAVE, IN THAT HE MISSED THAT OPPORTUNITY. BUT I WONDER IF THERE WASN'T A LITTLE SUGAR THAT WAS NEEDED RIGHT HERE IN ORDER TO BRING THE REPUBLICANS ON BOARD.

Yepsen: I THINK REPUBLICANS UNDERSTAND THIS REALITY. I THINK THE ISSUE IS LEADERSHIP. I THINK THEY'RE ON BOARD WITH GROWING THE ECONOMY. THEY ON BOARD WITH TAX REFORM. I THINK WHAT IS NEEDED HERE ARE SOME ROAD MAPS.

Glover: AND I THINK WHAT'S GOING TO HAPPEN -- I THINK THE JURY IS STILL VERY MUCH OUT ON BOTH TOM VILSACK'S ABILITY TO LEAD THIS STATE THROUGH THIS TIME AND THIS LEGISLATURE'S ABILITY TO DEAL WITH THE KIND OF BIG ISSUES, DAVE, THAT YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT. THERE'S AN OPPORTUNITY HERE. EVERYBODY HAS GOT SOME DOG IN THIS HUNT. TOM VILSACK WANTS TO RAISE THE MINIMUM WAGE. REPUBLICANS DON'T CARE ABOUT RAISING THE MINIMUM WAGE. TOM VILSACK WANTS TO ELIMINATE DEDUCTABILITY. REPUBLICANS WANT A FLAT TAX. THERE'S ROOM FOR A PACKAGE. THERE'S ROOM FOR SOMEBODY GETTING A LITTLE BIT OF EVERYTHING AND THIS LEGISLATURE ACTUALLY ACCOMPLISHING SOMETHING. WHAT KIND OF A -- WHAT ABOUT SOME KIND OF A FLAT TAX THAT TAKES CARE OF POOR PEOPLE AND THEN MARRY IT UP WITH THE MINIMUM WAGE SO EVERYBODY GETS SOMETHING WHEN THEY COME OUT. HAVE THEY MOVED PAST THEIR OLD PRECONCEPTIONS? WE DON'T KNOW YET, DEAN. THAT'S WHY WE HAVE SESSIONS.

Borg: YOU ASKED ABOUT LEADERSHIP OR YOU SAID LEADERSHIP WAS LACKING RIGHT THERE OR HE HAD AN OPPORTUNITY FOR LEADERSHIP. ARE REPUBLICANS -- THERE'S AN INDICATION -- AND I THROW THIS OUT TO EVERYBODY HERE, JENEANE, JOYCE. ARE REPUBLICANS WILLING TO BE LED THIS TIME? p

Russell: WELL, THEY'RE CERTAINLY WILLING TO COME TO THE TABLE WITH THE GOVERNOR AND TALK ABOUT THESE REALLY WIDE RANGING IDEAS. BUT IT REMAINS TO BE SEEN WHETHER, YOU KNOW, LIKE A LARRY MCKIBBEN IS GOING TO BE LED ON THE FLAT TAXES. THAT SEEMS UNLIKELY.

Beck: WE'RE STILL SEEING, ALSO, IF THEY CAN LEAD THEIR OWN MEMBERS. THERE ARE 40 SOME NEW MEMBERS IN THE HOUSE AND SENATE, AND SO THEY DON'T KNOW WHAT THESE NEW MEMBERS BRING TO THE TABLE. YOU HAVE NEW LEADERSHIP IN THE HOUSE. BOTH THE SPEAKER AND THE MAJORITY LEADER ARE IN NEW POSITIONS, SO WE HAVE TO SEE IF THEY CAN EVEN LEAD THEIR OWN MEMBERS AT THIS POINT.

Yepsen: AND I THINK IF A GOVERNOR WANTS TO LEAD THE LEGISLATURE, HE OR SHE HAS GOT TO GO OUT AND LEAD THE PEOPLE OF IOWA, BECAUSE IOWANS TALK TO THEIR LEGISLATORS AND LEGISLATORS DO RESPOND. I MEAN WHY IS -- WHY IS THERE ALL THIS HUNKY-DORY, LOVEY-DOVEY ATMOSPHERE AT THE STATEHOUSE? I'LL TELL YOU WHY, DEAN. IT'S BECAUSE IOWANS TOLD THEIR POLITICIANS WE'RE TIRED OF THE INFIGHTING. AND SO THE REPUBLICANS CAME IN HERE AND THEY DECIDED TO KNOCK IT OFF, THAT THEY ALL LOOKED BAD. NOW, IF THE GOVERNOR WANTS TO GET SOME TOUGH THINGS DONE, IT SEEMS TO ME HE'S GOT TO LAY THOSE CHOICES IN FRONT OF IOWANS SO THAT IOWA VOTERS ARE TELLING JOE AND SALLY LEGISLATOR, "HEY, YOU OUGHT TO DO WHAT THE GOVERNOR WANTS TO DO ON THE TAX CODE, YOU OUGHT TO DO WHAT THE GOVERNOR WANTS TO DO ON EDUCATION." HE JUST DIDN'T LAY THAT KIND OF MATH OUT IN FRONT OF PEOPLE.

Glover: I THINK THE QUESTION THAT REALLY, I THINK, REMAINS TO BE ANSWERED IS BOTH PARTIES AND TRADITIONALISTS IN BOTH PARTIES HAVE GOT THIS SORT OF PRECONCEIVED NOTION OF THINGS THAT THEY CAN LIVE WITH AND THINGS THAT THEY CAN'T LIVE WITH. ARE THERE ENOUGH NEW PEOPLE UP THERE TO GET BEYOND THOSE PRECONCEIVED NOTIONS TO WHERE A REPUBLICAN CAN MAYBE LOOK AT ELIMINATING FEDERAL DEDUCTABILITIES AND SAY, OKAY, LET'S WIPE THAT OUT, BUT WHAT ARE WE GOING TO GET IN EXCHANGE FOR IT? ARE WE GOING TO GET A REALLY SIMPLIFIED TAX SYSTEM, A POSTCARD SYSTEM THAT'S BETTER FOR IOWANS? AND START THINKING ANEW AND SAY, OKAY, RATHER THAN JUST THROW THAT LITTLE THING ON THE ASHHEAP, LET'S SEE IF WE CAN MAYBE, OKAY, WE'LL BIDE IT, HOW CAN WE WORK WITH IT?

Yepsen: AND IT'S ALSO TRUE THAT WHILE EVERYBODY AROUND PUBLIC POLICY IN IOWA CAN POINT TO THINGS THAT REALLY NEED TO BE CHANGED IN THIS STATE, THERE ARE A LOT OF PEOPLE IN IOWA WHO LIKE THINGS JUST THE WAY THEY ARE. THEY LIKE THEIR LITTLE TAX EXEMPTIONS AND THEY LIKE ALL THEIR LITTLE DOODADS THAT WE HAVE AND THEY LIKE THEIR DINKY LITTLE SCHOOLS. IT'S TOUGH TO MAKE CHANGE IN THIS STATE. AND I THINK WITHOUT THAT SPECIFICITY, I THINK IT'S DIFFICULT FOR A GOVERNOR TO ACCOMPLISH THAT.

Glover: AND EVERY LOOPHOLE IN THE TAX CODE IS THERE BECAUSE A GROUP WANTED IT, AND IT'S NOT A LOOPHOLE TO THAT GROUP, IT'S TAX FAIRNESS.

Borg: I WANT TO COME BACK TO THIS DISCUSSION ON THE PROPOSALS THAT GOVERNOR VILSACK MADE IN HIS "CONDITION OF THE STATE" ADDRESS ON TAXES AND SCHOOLS AND SO ON. BUT THERE WAS ANOTHER BIT OF NEWS ON FRIDAY THAT REALLY HAS A BIG IMPACT, I THINK, IN THIS LEGISLATIVE SESSION -- CORRECT ME IF I'M WRONG -- AND THAT IS THE SUPREME COURT'S AGREEMENT TO TAKE ON THE CONSIDERATION OF THE GAMBLING TAX.

Glover: YES, IT'S A VERY BIG DEAL. AS YOU KNOW, LAST YEAR THE STATE SUPREME COURT STRUCK DOWN THE ENTIRE SYSTEM THE STATE USES TO TAX CASINOS. IT WOULD HAVE COST THE STATE MORE THAN $100 MILLION IF THAT DECISION STOOD. ONE OF THE FIRST PROBLEMS THIS LEGISLATURE HAD TO FACE WAS HOW DO WE PLUG THAT HOLE: DO WE RAISE TAXES ON CASINOS; HOW DO WE DOIT? THERE WAS A LOT OF ROILING AROUND. NOBODY REALLY KNEW. NO CONSENSUS. THE U.S. SUPREME COURT DECIDED TO TAKE AN APPEAL, SO PROBABLY BY SUMMER WE'LL SEE IF THAT DECISION MADE HERE IS GOING TO STAND. THE OTHER THING WE DON'T KNOW IS, IS THIS LEGISLATURE GOING TO TAKE THAT AS AN EXCUSE TO NOT DEAL WITH THE ISSUE. ARE THEY GOING TO TRY TO CUT A DEAL SO THAT THEY DON'T HAVE TO TAKE A CHANCE WITH THE COURT DECISION? WE'LL JUST HAVE TO SEE. p

Russell: UP UNTIL TODAY -- UNTIL THE SUPREME COURT ACTION TODAY OR THEIR DECISION TO TAKE THE CASE, THE WORD WAS THAT THEY WERE GOING TO DEAL WITH GAMBLING AND THEY WERE GOING TO DEAL WITH GAMBLING RIGHT AWAY. BECAUSE OF THIS $100-MILLION PROBLEM, THEY NEED TO DEAL WITH THAT RIGHT AWAY BEFORE THEY CAN GET ON TO SOLVING THE REST OF THE BUDGET PROBLEMS. NOW, AS MIKE SAID, THERE IS AT LEAST THE OPPORTUNITY TO NOT DEAL WITH IT AT ALL, TO SAY WE'LL WAIT AND SEE WHAT THE SUPREME COURT SAYS ABOUT IT.

Beck: IT WILL BE INTERESTING TO SEE IF THE LAND-BASED CASINOS CHANGE THEIR MESSAGE AT ALL. THEY'VE BEEN PRETTY HEAVY HANDED IN SAYING THAT WE ARE GOING TO REQUIRE THE STATES TO PAY US BACK THAT MONEY, THOSE BACK TAXES. AND SOME LEGISLATORS WERE HOPING THEY WOULD FORGIVE THOSE BACK TAXES AND HAD SAID, YOU KNOW, "IF YOU REALLY FORCE US TO PAY THOSE IN A HURRY, WE'RE GOING TO GET IT BACK FROM YOU BY TAXING YOU IN ANOTHER WAY." IT WILL BE INTERESTING TO SEE IF IT CHANGES THE DEBATE. NOW THAT THAT APPEAL IS OUT THERE --

Yepsen: YEAH, THE COURT'S DECISION SORT OF LEVELS THE POLITICS OF THIS THING. NOBODY HAS REALLY GOT A FAIR ADVANTAGE HERE, AND IT'S A RISK NOT TO DO IT. SO IN ONE SENSE, THEY OUGHT TO ADDRESS THIS ISSUE AND MAYBE MOVE ON. BUT IN ANOTHER SENSE, THEY'VE GOT SO MANY THINGS ON THEIR PLATE, DEAN. THIS IS A COMPLICATED ISSUE. THERE ARE A LOT OF FRESHMEN UP THERE. THE FIRST ISSUE THAT THEY DON'T REALLY NEED POLITICALLY TO BE THROWN INTO IS THE CHAIN SAW OF A GAMBLING DEBATE. SO LEADERS COULD VERY EASILY SAY, "LET'S MOVE ON TO SOMETHING ELSE."

Glover: THE PROBLEM IS YOU CAN START OUT TALKING ABOUT TAXING CASINOS AND GAMBLING, BUT WHEN YOU PUT GAMBLING ON THE TABLE, THEN YOU'RE WORRIED ABOUT WHAT KIND OF GAMES YOU'RE GOING TO HAVE AT THIS PLACE, WHO GETS AN ADVANTAGE HERE. THE WHOLE PLETHORA OF GAMBLING ISSUES GOES ON THE TABLE. AND LEGISLATIVE LEADERS WOULD LIKE TO TAKE AN EXCUSE NOT TO OPEN THAT CAN OF WORMS.

Borg: WILL THIS BE REPUBLICAN LEGISLATORS DECIDING THIS, OR WILL GOVERNOR VILSACK HAVE SOME INPUT INTO THAT DECISION?

Yepsen: I THINK, OBVIOUSLY, THE GOVERNOR WILL HAVE SOME INPUT. BUT HERE'S ANOTHER PROBLEM. OF ALL THE PROBLEMS THAT WE FACE IN THIS STATE, IS THE MOST IMPORTANT THING WE'RE SUPPOSED TO START DEALING WITH IN THIS SESSION OF THE LEGISLATURE GAMBLING? I DON'T THINK THE POLITICIANS WANT TO DO THAT.

Glover: THEY'RE SENDING A MESSAGE AND THAT IS THAT GAMBLING IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT, GAMBLING ISMORE IMPORTANT THAN SCHOOLS, GAMBLING IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN HEALTH CARE.

Borg: LET'S GO BACK, DAVID, TO THE "CONDITION OF THE STATE" ADDRESS. ONE OF THE MAIN OF THE FOUR PRINCIPLES THAT GOVERNOR VILSACK HAD IN HIS "CONDITION OF THE STATE" MESSAGE WAS RAISING THE STANDARD OF LIVING IN IOWA. AM I RIGHT IN CHARACTERIZING IT THAT WAY?

Yepsen: SURE. RAISING -- WELL, ADDING WEALTH TO IOWANS. REPUBLICANS AGREE WITH HIM. THEY CAN DISAGREE ABOUT THE WAYS THAT GETS ACCOMPLISHED, BUT IF YOU WANT TO SOLVE IOWA'S ECONOMIC PROBLEMS, YOU GET PEOPLE JOBS. IF YOU HAVE JOBS, HALF THE SOCIAL PROBLEMS GO AWAY AND YOU HAVE ENOUGH TAX REVENUES TO DEAL WITH THE OTHER PROBLEM -- WITH OTHER PROBLEMS. THE ISSUE, THOUGH, ISN'T WHETHER THAT'S A GOOD GOAL. IT'S LIKE MOTHERHOOD, APPLE PIE, AND THE FLAG. EVERYBODY IS FOR IT, ECONOMIC GROWTH AT THE STATE CAPITOL. IT GOES BACK TO THIS POINT I WAS MAKING EARLIER THAT WHAT ARE THE TOUGH CHOICES THAT HAVE TO BE MADE TO GET TO THAT POINT: WHAT TAXES GET CUT; DO WE DO A MINIMUM WAGE IN THIS STATE; HOW DO YOU CASH IN ON THE PATENTS THAT COME OUT OF IOWA? THOSE ARE TOUGH THINGS TO DO.

Borg: JENEANE?

Beck: ONE OF THE THINGS THE GOVERNOR HAS TALKED ABOUT DOING IS THIS $500-MILLION FUND, IOWA VALUES FUND, THAT WOULD GRANT -- MAKE REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT GRANTS SO THAT COMMUNITIES COULD HELP BUSINESSES EXPAND OR LOCATE IN THEIR AREA. THE PROBLEM IS HE DIDN'T GIVE US ANY DETAILS ON WHERE THIS $500 MILLION WOULD COMEFROM. WHEN I ASKED HIM ABOUT IT -- AND THIS IS, SORT OF, ONE OF HIS WEAKNESSES; HE DOES ONE OF THOSE -- HE ALMOST WANTS TO PAT YOU ON THE HAND AND SAY, "OH, THERE, THERE, I'LL GET TO THAT LATER, AND YOU DON'T REALLY NEED TO KNOW ALL OF THAT OR UNDERSTAND ALL THAT, BUT THERE'S A LOT OF SOURCES WHERE WE CAN GET THIS MONEY." AND I THINK THAT'S WHAT THE REST OF US ARE EXPECTING ANY DAY IN THE NEXT COUPLE OF WEEKS.

Glover: AND IT'S ANOTHER CASE ON THIS ISSUE WHERE BOTH SIDES, BUSINESS, LABOR, DEMOCRATS, REPUBLICANS, ARE GOING TO HAVE TO DROP THEIR OLD OUTMODED THINKING. WHAT IS IOWA A LOW-WAGE STATE? BUSINESSES DON'T LIKE TO PAY WORKERS A LOT. BUSINESSES LIKE CHEAP WORKERS. THEY'VE GOT TO GET PAST THAT. WHY IS -- WAS THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY --- IN IOWA --- FRIENDLY RELATIONSHIP WITH BUSINESSES, BECAUSE BASICALLY THEY LIKE TO TAX THEM AND NOT HELP THEM. OKAY, SHOW ME A BUNCH OF REPUBLICAN BUSINESS TYPES WHO ARE SAYING WE NEED HIGH PAID, HIGH QUALITY WORKERS IN THIS STATE AND WE NEED HIGH TRAINED WORKERS AND WE NEED TO PAY FOR THEM, AND THEN SHOW ME DEMOCRATS WHO SAY, OKAY, WE'LL TAKE A LOOK AT THE TAX CODE AND SEE IF MAYBE WE CAN HELP SOME BUSINESSES. THEN THIS LEGISLATURE MIGHT GET TO WORK, BUT I'M NOT SURE IF THEY'RE THERE YET. p

Russell: BUT THEY'RE ALL ON THE SAME PAGE. WITH EVERYBODY FOCUSING ON THIS PROBLEM, WE'RE LIKELY TO SEE AT LEAST SOME ACTION. I THINK WHAT THE GOVERNOR AND HIS NEW ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT DIRECTOR ARE BRINGING TO THISIS A SENSE OF URGENCY OF IT, TALKING ABOUT THE NUMBER OF HIGH TECH COMPANIES THAT ARE OUT THERE THAT ARE POISED TO CHOOSE IOWA OR CHOOSE SOME OTHER STATE.

Borg: JENEANE, ANOTHER OF THOSE FOUR PRINCIPLES THAT THE GOVERNOR ENUNCIATED WAS CONTINUOUS IMPROVEMENT IN EDUCATION. THAT'S BEEN A PRIORITY THE PAST FOUR YEARS WITH GOVERNOR VILSACK. THIS TIME, THOUGH, HE DID MENTION DOING SOMETHING ABOUT SMALL SCHOOLS, AND THERE WASN'T AN OUTCRY.

Beck: NO. HE'S SUGGESTING THAT SCHOOLS THAT HAVE 200 STUDENTS OR FEWER GET INCENTIVES TO CONSOLIDATE OR SHARE ADMINISTRATIVE POSITIONS, AT LEAST, IF NOT, AND REGIONAL ACADEMIES SO THAT THE STUDENTS CAN GO TO ONE CENTRAL PLACE AND TAKE THESE HIGHER MATH AND SCIENCE COURSES THAT MAY NOT BE OFFERED AT THE SMALLER DISTRICTS, ON-LINE COURSES, THAT KIND OF THING. THERE DOES SEEM TO BE SOME AWARENESS THAT IT'S COMING TO THE POINT WHERE THEY HAVE TO DO THIS AND THAT THERE ISN'T THE SAME PUBLIC OUTCRY OR LEGISLATIVE OUTCRY THAT THERE USED TO BE ABOUT CONSOLIDATING SCHOOLS.

Yepsen: THERE MAY BE -- THE DEBATE MAY HAVE CHANGED A LITTLE BIT IN RURAL IOWA, DEAN, THAT ENABLES POLITICIANS TO DO THIS. IN THE OLD DAYS, IF YOU SAID THE WORD "SCHOOL CONSOLIDATION," THEN LIGHTNING WOULD STRIKE YOU AND YOUR POLITICAL CAREER WOULD BE FINISHED. NOW IT'S DIFFERENT BECAUSE A LOT OF RURAL IOWANS CAN SEE THAT THE OPPORTUNITIES FOR THEIR CHILDREN JUST AREN'T THE SAME AS THEY ARE IN LARGER AND EVEN MORE URBAN SETTINGS. AND I THINK THAT ALOT OF PEOPLE IN RURAL IOWA ARE SAYING, WELL, LET'S TRY TO WORK -- LET'S TRY TO WORK SOMETHING OUT HERE SO THAT SOME OF THESE ADVANCED COURSES, SOME OF THESE OPPORTUNITIES CAN BE AVAILABLE.

Borg: MIKE, LET'S TALK ABOUT TAXES AND WHERE IT'S LIKELY TO STRIKE, AS DAVE HAS SAID, ON SCHOOLS, LIKELY TO STRIKE IN SUNSETTING THE PROPERTY TAX AND OVERHAULING THE INCOME TAX. IS EVERYBODY AGREED LET'S DO IT AND FULL SPEED AHEAD?

Glover: OH, NO, NO, NO, NO, NO. THERE ARE A LOT OF GROUPS WALKING AROUND THE TUNDRA OF THE STATEHOUSE DOING A LOT OF THINGS BEHIND THE SCENES TO SCRAP THAT WHOLE IDEA. BEFORE -- LET'S TAKE THE PROPERTY TAX. BEFORE YOU CAN DEAL WITH THE PROPERTY TAX, YOU BETTER GET CITIES, COUNTIES, ALL OF THOSE PEOPLE IN AS PLAYERS IN THIS BECAUSE THAT'S WHO GETS A LOT OF THE PROPERTY TAX. YOU'VE GOT TO GET SCHOOLS INTO THIS, AND THOSE GROUPS AREN'T WIRED INTO THIS YET. SO THERE'S FAR FROM BROAD AGREEMENT THAT THAT'S THE APPROACH THEY OUGHT TO TAKE. YEAH, THERE'S A BROAD AGREEMENT; EVERYBODY SAYS THE PROPERTY TAX SYSTEM IS TOO COMPLEX, IT'S BAD, LET'S TAKE A LOOK AT IT. WHERE HAVE WE HEARD THAT BEFORE?

Yepsen: ALTHOUGH I WILL SAY THIS. I THINK IT IS A NOVEL WAY TO APPROACH PUBLIC POLICY, YOU SET UP A TRAIN WRECK. AND IT REALLY IS A CRAPSHOOT. WE'RE GOING TO BLOW UP THE PROPERTY TAX SYSTEM WITHOUT KNOWING EXACTLY WHAT'S GOING TO REPLACE IT. ORDINARILY I WOULD SAY THAT'S NOT GOING TO FLY, THAT POLICY DOESN'T CHANGE THAT WAY IN IOWA. BUT IWAS STRUCK, DEAN, BY THE FACT THAT VILSACK, IN HIS "CONDITION OF THE STATE" MESSAGE, GOT SOME OF HIS LOUDEST APPLAUSE FROM THE REPUBLICANS WHEN HE SAID THAT. SO MAYBE THERE'S HOPE FOR THAT.

Glover: ONE ADVANTAGE OF PUTTING A GUN TO YOUR HEAD IS YOU DON'T REALLY WANT TO PULL THE TRIGGER AND THE PRESSURE GETS HIGH NOT TO PULL THE TRIGGER, SO THE PRESSURE SUDDENLY WOULD BE ON, LIKE, THE CITIES AND THE COUNTIES THAT SAY, "OKAY, WE'RE NOT GOING TO HAVE A PROPERTY TAX SYSTEM, MAYBE WE BETTER CUT A DEAL HERE."

Borg: AND WHEN YOU SAY PUT THE GUN TO THE HEAD, YOU MEAN WHEN YOU SUNSET THE PROPERTY TAX AND SET A DEADLINE, AS THIS IS GOING OUT OF EXISTENCE, PEOPLE ARE GOING TO SCRAMBLE AND SAY, "WHERE IS THE MONEY GOING TO COME FROM."

Glover: RIGHT. IF YOU SAY SEPTEMBER 30, 2005, THE PROPERTY TAX SYSTEM IN IOWA WILL GO OFF THE BOOKS AND THERE WON'T BE ONE, THAT MEANS BY SEPTEMBER 30, 2005, YOU BETTER COME UP WITH ANOTHER ONE OR FIGURE OUT HOW TO RUN YOUR COUNTY GOVERNMENT WITHOUT ANY MONEY.

Beck: ONE OF THE THINGS I FIND SO INTERESTING ABOUT THIS IS THE GOVERNOR SAID PROPERTY TAXES SHOULD BE LINKED TO SERVICES LINKED TO PROPERTY OWNERSHIP. WE PAY FOR A LOT OF THINGS THROUGH PROPERTY TAXES THAT HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH OWNING PROPERTY. SOME OF THE THINGS THAT I'VE HEARD TALKED ABOUT ARE REMOVING SCHOOL MONEY FROM PROPERTY TAXES, REMOVING MENTAL HEALTH -- THE MENTAL HEALTH ROLLS OFF OF PROPERTY TAXES. IF YOU DO THAT, THAT'S A LARGE CHUNK OFMONEY. AND WHERE DOES THAT GO? DOES THAT MEAN SALES TAX GOES UP OR INCOME TAX GOES UP? THAT'S A BIG QUESTION.

Yepsen: I THINK WE COULD GET A SALES TAX INCREASE OUT OF THIS DEBATE, MAYBE NOT THIS SESSION BUT EVENTUALLY, BECAUSE IF YOU -- IOWA'S PROPERTY TAXES ARE RELATIVELY HIGH COMPARED TO OTHER STATES. OUR SALES TAXES ARE RELATIVELY LOW. IF WE'RE GOING TO -- IF WE'RE GOING TO LEVEL THIS OUT, WE'RE GOING TO TAKE SOME SERVICES OFF OF PROPERTY, AND WE'RE GOING TO PUT THEM ON THE SALES TAX. YOU'VE ALREADY GOT SCHOOL PEOPLE UP THERE BEATING THE GONG FOR SALES TAX INCREASES FOR SCHOOL INFRASTRUCTURE. SO I THINK THE DAY IS COMING, MAYBE IN THE NEXT COUPLE YEARS, WHEN WE'LL SEE A SALES TAX INCREASE.

Borg: HOW ARE YOU GOING TO GET AN INCREASE IN THE SALES TAX BY A DEMOCRATIC GOVERNOR WHEN THE DEMOCRATS HAVE ALWAYS SAID THE SALES TAX IS REGRESSIVE ON THE LOWER INCOME PEOPLE?

Yepsen: WHAT YOU DO IS YOU RAISE THE STANDARD DEDUCTION ON THE INCOME TAX, AND SO YOU MAKE IT FAIRER TO PEOPLE. IT WILL ALL BE PART OF ONE PACKAGE. NOW, THE GOOD PART OF THIS IDEA IS, AT THE END OF THE DAY, THE GOVERNMENT'S TOTAL TAX TAKE FROM IOWANS WILL BE THE SAME, BUT WHERE GOVERNMENT GETS IT WILL CHANGE.

Glover: AND, DEAN, TO ANSWER YOUR QUESTION HOW TO GET PAST A DEMOCRATIC GOVERNOR, THE FIRST PEOPLE I HEARD TALKING ABOUT THIS AT THE STATEHOUSE DURING THE FIRST WEEK OF THE LEGISLATURE WERE DEMOCRATIC LEGISLATIVE LEADERS WHO POINTEDOUT THAT OTHER STATES HAVE DONE THIS. MICHIGAN TOOK THEIR SCHOOL SYSTEM OFF OF PROPERTY TAXES AND SUPPORTS IT ENTIRELY BY SALES TAXES. SO THE DEMOCRATS UP THERE ARE TALKING ABOUT THIS, AND IF -- YOU'RE RIGHT, THIS IS THE TYPE OF PACKAGE YOU COULD PUT TOGETHER. MINIMUM WAGE JUST MAY FIT IN THAT PACKAGE TOO. OKAY, WE'LL RAISE THE SALES TAX THAT DEMOCRATS TEND NOT TO LIKE; LET'S GIVE THEM THE MINIMUM WAGE.

Borg: JOYCE, ANOTHER OF THE PRINCIPLES THE GOVERNOR OUTLINED WAS CARE OF THE ENVIRONMENT. SOME PEOPLE HAVE SAID THAT HASN'T GOTTEN MUCH ATTENTION IN THE LAST FEW YEARS IN IOWA. IT COSTS MONEY TO DO THAT. IT THAT LIKELY TO REALLY -- I MEAN IT'S NICE TO SAY IS IT GOING TO HAPPEN. THE GOVERNOR SAID, "IF YOU DON'T BELIEVE IT WILL HAPPEN, STEP OUT OF THE WAY." p

Russell: WELL, THE BIG QUESTION, OF COURSE, IS WHERE IS THE MONEY TO DO THAT. THE DNR HAS TAKEN THEIR HITS. THE ENVIRONMENT HAS TAKEN THEIR HITS, ALONG WITH EVERYBODY ELSE, WITH THE BUDGET. HE PUT A BIG GOAL OUT THERE BY, I THINK, 2010, GET ALL OF IOWA'S ENDANGERED WATERWAYS OFF THE ENDANGERED LIST. THAT'S A BIG GOAL. CERTAINLY WE NEED MORE DETAILS ON THAT, ON HOW YOU'RE GOING TO GET THERE.

Glover: DEAN, STOP AND THINK ABOUT WHAT THE GOVERNOR DID ON THE ENVIRONMENT WHEN HE SAID -- HE SET THE MAJOR GOAL OF GETTING ALL THE STREAMS IMPAIRED -- WHAT DID HE ACTUALLY PROPOSE? p

Russell: NOTHING.

Glover: HE SET A GOAL OF GETTING THIS PROBLEM TAKEN CARE OF THAT WILL COME, WHAT,SIX YEARS AFTER HE'S LEFT OFFICE? AND HE NAMED A BLUE-RIBBON COMMITTEE TO LOOK AT IT.

Beck: WELL, AND THE GAMBLING TAX AFFECTS US, BECAUSE A LOT OF THE MONEY FOR ENVIRONMENTAL PROGRAMS IS PAID FOR THROUGH THE GAMBLING REVENUE. AND RIGHT NOW THERE'S A BIG QUESTION MARK ABOUT HOW MUCH IOWA IS GOING TO EARN FROM THESE CASINOS.

Borg: WHEN YOU TALKED ABOUT THE STUDY COMMISSION, THAT REMINDED ME HE ALSO PROPOSED STUDYING HOW SCHOOLS ARE FINANCED IN IOWA. NOW, THERE'S A BIG QUESTION ABOUT THAT RIGHT NOW, IN FACT A LAWSUIT PENDING. IS THIS A WAY OF JUST SAYING, YES, WE'RE DOING IT OKAY NOW? WHAT'S THE REASONING BEHIND THAT, DAVE?

Yepsen: WELL, WE TALKED ABOUT SOME OF IT. SOME OF IT IS TAX REFORM. SOME OF IT IS SCHOOL CONSOLIDATION. SOME OF IT IS TRYING TO GET PEOPLE IN THE ROOM AND AGREE ON CHANGE. YEAH, I UNDERSTAND STUDIES ARE MOST OF THE TIME A WASTE OF TIME, BUT IT IS ALSO TRUE THAT GOVERNORS CAN LEAD, AND HE'S PERSONALLY GOING TO CHAIR THIS STUDY. WE'RE GOING TO GET PEOPLE IN THE ROOM, AND WE GET TO TALK. YOU GET PEOPLE TALKING AND MAKING TRADEOFFS. IF YOU CAN GET IOWANS TO AGREE ON A PROBLEM AND ON THE SAME SET OF FACTS, YOU CAN GENERALLY START GETTING SOME SOLUTIONS. SO I THINK VILSACK WILL TRY TO NUDGE THAT BALL DOWN THE ROAD ON BOTH EDUCATION AND THE ENVIRONMENT, UNLIKE SOME OF THESE OTHER ISSUES. THERE'S WIDE AGREEMENT IN IOWA THAT WE WANT GOOD SCHOOLS, WE WANT A CLEAN ENVIRONMENT. SO A LOT OF THAT BATTLE ISALREADY HALFWAY DOWN.

Glover: AND I THINK AFTER THE ELECTION HAS SOME FALLOUT FOR THIS WHOLE ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUE THEIR THAT ARGUES FOR SOMETHING BEING DONE. WHAT WAS ONE OF THE TOP ISSUES VILSACK WON IN ATTACKING REPUBLICAN DOUG GROSS DURING THE CAMPAIGN? HOG LOTS AND THE PROBLEMS THEY CAUSE THE ENVIRONMENT. THE PERCEPTION WAS GROSS GOT HURT BY THAT, VILSACK GOT HELPED BY THAT. POLITICIANS HEARD THAT; POLITICIANS SAW THAT. SO THE ENVIRONMENT GETS A MORE FRIENDLY HEARING NOW.

Borg: I KNOW THIS IS JUST THE FIRST WEEK, BUT LET ME JUST SAY THAT IT SEEMS THAT THE TENOR OF THE LEGISLATURE IS IMPROVED OVER WHAT IT HAS BEEN ON OPENING WEEK IN THE PAST. BUT WHY SHOULD IOWA NOT BE CYNICAL AND SAY IT ALWAYS STARTS SWEET AND ENDS SOUR?

Yepsen: WELL, DEAN, I ALWAYS THINK IOWANS SHOULD BE CYNICAL ABOUT THEIR LEGISLATURE. YOU NEVER GO BROKE UNDERESTIMATING. WE TALKED ABOUT THIS BEFORE IN THIS PROGRAM, AND THE DYNAMIC HAS CHANGED: NEW PEOPLE, VOTERS HAVE SAID THEY'RE TIRED OF THIS INFIGHTING. I THINK PEOPLE DO WANT SOME PROBLEMS SOLVED, AND I THINK HAVING HAD THIS LOVEY-DOVEY WEEK HERE AT THE STATE CAPITOL, IT'S GOING TO BE IMPORTANT FOR THESE POLITICIANS NOW TO START TO PRODUCE. WE'RE GOING TO HAVE TO START PASSING SOME BILLS, HOPEFULLY SOMETHING BESIDES GAMBLING, TO START SHOWING IOWANS THAT THEY CAN PRODUCE SOME RESULTS. TALK IS CHEAP, DEAN, AND IOWANS, I THINK, NEED TO START SEEING SOME RESULTS.

Glover: AND THEY DON'T ALWAYS START OFFLOVEY-DOVEY AND SWEET. IF YOU RECALL LAST YEAR, THEY STARTED OFF POISONOUS AND THEN GOT BAD AFTER THAT.

Beck: AND IF YOU REMEMBER THE GOVERNOR'S FIRST YEAR AFTER HIS FIRST ELECTION, THAT YEAR PRODUCED SOME OF THE BIGGEST THINGS THAT HE STILL POINTS TO NOW, WHICH WAS THE CLASS SIZE REDUCTION. AND THEY ALSO, IN THE FIRST YEAR OR TWO, DID THE METHAMPHETAMINE BILL, WHERE THEY HAD BIG, JOINT PRESS CONFERENCES EVERY OTHER DAY AT THE STATEHOUSE. SO THAT FIRST YEAR AFTER AN ELECTION DOES SEEM TO BE THE BEST YEAR TO GET THINGS DONE.

Borg: WELL, MAYBE -- YOU SAID DETAILS ARE LACKING. IT'S KIND OF LIKE A MARRIAGE. MONEY SEEMS TO BE ALWAYS THE PROBLEM THAT CAUSES THE BIGGEST FIGHTS. AND THAT'S YET TO COME; ISN'T IT? THE BUDGET IS YET TO COME.

Yepsen: THAT'S THE PIECE WE HAVE NOT SEEN, AND THE DEVIL IS ALWAYS IN THOSE DETAILS.

Borg: IN FACT, YOU KNOW, WE SEEM TO HAVE FORGOTTEN -- IN FACT, I MENTIONED IT AS WE OPENED THIS PROGRAM -- $400 MILLION HAS TO BE FOUND SOMEPLACE.

Yepsen: THAT'S WHERE A LOT OF FIGHTS WILL START OR SOME OF THIS COMITY WILL START TO END. BUT I THINK JENEANE IS RIGHT. THERE IS A ONE-YEAR WINDOW OF OPPORTUNITY HERE, 2003. VILSACK IS NOT RUNNING, LEGISLATORS ARE NOT RUNNING, SO THEY CAN WORK TOGETHER. IN '04 IT'S A CAMPAIGN YEAR; WE'RE OFF TO THE RACES.

Borg: YOU HAD A COMMENT, MIKE?

Glover: NO, I JUST THINK -- I THINK THE DEVIL IS IN THOSE DETAILS, AND HE IS GOING TO HAVE TO DO SOME PAINFUL THINGS. AND THERE IS GOING TO BE A TEST FOR TOM VILSACK COMING UP PRETTY QUICKLY. HE'S ASKING REPUBLICANS TO THROW AWAY SOME REPUBLICAN ORTHODOXY WITH FEDERAL DEDUCTABILITY. IS HE GOING TO TAKE ON SOME DEMOCRAT ORTHODOXY? IS HE GOING TO STAND UP AT THE STATE WORKERS UNION IN NEGOTIATIONS, HOLD THE LINE, MAYBE A PAY FREEZE, SOMETHING LIKE THAT, DO SOMETHING OUT OF THE ORDINARY FOR A DEMOCRAT? IF HE'S GOING TO ASK REPUBLICANS TO MOVE A LITTLE BIT, I THINK HE'S GOING TO HAVE TO MOVE A LITTLE BIT, AND WE'LL SEE THAT WHEN HE COMES UP WITH THE DETAILS OF HIS BUDGET.

Borg: JOYCE, A COMPLETELY DIFFERENT SUBJECT HERE. WE'RE BEING INVADED, HAVE BEEN FOR SEVERAL MONTHS, BY PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES FOR 2004 IN THE IOWA CAUCUSES. THEY'RE COMING IN INCREASING NUMBERS NOW. IS THIS AT ALL GOING TO INFLUENCE IOWA POLITICS OR THE IOWA ECONOMY, ANYTHING LIKE THAT? AND WHY SHOULD THE AVERAGE PERSON ON THE STREET OTHER THAN POLITICAL ACTIVISTS BE EXCITED? p

Russell: THAT'S A GOOD QUESTION. IT'S FUN TO SEE THEM COME IN. IT'S INTERESTING. THEY START THE AGENDA. THEY START THE DISCUSSION FOR THE NEXT PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION. I THINK IT'S GREAT THAT THEY'RE HERE. A LOT OF PEOPLE DO PAY ATTENTION TO THOSE CANDIDATES AS THEY COME IN AND OUT OF THE STATE. THEY'RE SNAPPING UP THE TALENT NOW. THEY'RE SNAPPING UP THE POLITICAL TALENT AND GETTING THE GOOD ORGANIZERS ON THEIR STAFF.

Glover: THE HOTEL INDUSTRY LIKES IT. THE RESTAURANT INDUSTRY LIKES IT. PLACES THAT HOLD LIQUOR LICENSES LIKE IT. AND THE AVERAGE IOWAN PROBABLY WON'T PAY A LOT OF ATTENTION AT THE END OF THE DAY ABOUT 100,000 IOWANS WHO WILL GO TO THE DEMOCRATIC CAUCUSES. BUT WHAT IT DOES IS IT -- AND ONE OF THE THINGS THAT I'VE ALWAYS THOUGHT THAT THIS WHOLE CAUCUS PROCESS DOES IS IT ENERGIZES AND REENERGIZES THE POLITICAL SYSTEM OF THIS STATE. THIS STATE HAS A LARGE, ACTIVE, AND AN EFFECTIVE POLITICAL COMMUNITY, LARGELY BECAUSE TWO YEARS OUT OF EVERY FOUR WE GO THROUGH THIS.

Yepsen: ONE EFFECT OF THE CAUCUSES, DEAN, IS TO BRING IDEAS INTO THIS STATE. WHERE DID LARRY MCKIBBEN GET THE IDEA FOR A FLAT TAX? STEVE FORBES WAS OUT HERE TALKING ABOUT THAT. THESE DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATES WILL BRING IDEAS ON HEALTH CARE, ON THE ENVIRONMENT. AND YOU'LL HAVE DEMOCRATIC LEGISLATORS WHO WILL SAY MAYBE WE OUGHT TO TRY SOME VERSION OF THAT HERE. IT'S ONE OF THE MOST UNDERREPORTED AND YET ONE OF THE HEALTHIEST THINGS THAT I THINK THESE CAUCUSES DO ARE THE IDEAS ON BOTH SIDES THAT ARE BROUGHT INTO OUR STATE.

Borg: WHERE DOES VILSACK RELATE, BECAUSE THERE ARE MOSTLY DEMOCRATS COMING IN?

Yepsen: HE STAYS NEUTRAL. HIS JOB WILL BE TO STAY NEUTRAL FOR MOST OF IT. HE'LL HAVE TO REFEREE SOME FIGHTS, BUT IF HE TOOK A SIDE IN THIS THING, IT WOULD REALLY TILT THE FIELD.

Glover: THE MOST INTERESTING STORY THAT'S GOING TO HAPPEN OVER THE NEXT SIX MONTHS IS TOM HARKIN. HE'LL ENDORSE A CANDIDATE, HE'LL ENDORSE A CANDIDATE BY THIS SUMMER, HE'LL THROW HISSUPPORT TO HIM, AND THAT CANDIDATE COULD VERY WELL WIN IT.

Yepsen: MIKE, I THINK IT'S MORE IMPORTANT WHO CHRISTIE VILSACK ENDORSES, BECAUSE SHE'LL DO SOME WORK FOR THE GUY. [ LAUGHTER ] >>

Borg: THANK YOU FOR YOUR INSIGHTS. ON OUR NEXT EDITION OF "IOWA PRESS," WE FOCUS ON THE STATE'S AGENDA FROM THE PERSPECTIVE OF THE EXECUTIVE BRANCH. GOVERNOR TOM VILSACK WILL BE JOINING US NEXT WEEK TO ELABORATE ON HIS VISION FOR IOWA, AS PRESENTED IN THE "CONDITION OF THE STATE" AND "INAUGURAL" MESSAGES OF THIS PAST WEEK. THAT'S NEXT FRIDAY, 6:30 AND SUNDAY AT NOON HERE ON STATEWIDE IOWA PUBLIC TELEVISION. WE LEAVE YOU WITH A PROGRAM REMINDER. ON TUESDAY OF THIS COMING WEEK, IOWA PUBLIC TELEVISION REBROADCASTS ITS MOST RECENT EDITION OF THE "LIVING IN IOWA" PROGRAM WITH MORGAN HALGREN. MORGAN TRAVELS TO TERRACE HILL FOR A CONVERSATION WITH GOVERNOR VILSACK AND FIRST LADY CHRISTIE VILSACK. MORGAN'S INTERVIEW WITH THE VILSACKS AIRS ON TUESDAY AT 6:30. I THINK YOU'LL FIND IT A MOST ENJOYABLE HALF HOUR WITH IOWA'S FIRST COUPLE, WHO FOCUS ON THEIR THIRTY-YEAR RELATIONSHIP. I HOPE YOU'LL WATCH. THAT'S THIS WEEKEND'S EDITION OF "IOWA PRESS." I'M DEAN BORG. THANKS FOR JOINING US.

FUNDING FOR THIS PROGRAM WAS PROVIDED BY "FRIENDS," THE IOWA PUBLIC TELEVISION FOUNDATION... GENERATIONS OF FAMILIES AND FRIENDS WHO FEEL PASSIONATE ABOUT THE PROGRAMS THEY WATCH ON 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.