Wednesday, August 05, 2009
ROBERTS CALLS ON GOVERNOR TO BE “REAL” WITH IOWANS
Republican gubernatorial candidate Rod Roberts today called on Governor Culver and his staff to be more honest with Iowans about the condition of the state’s finances.
“Iowans need a governor who will be ‘real’ with them about the health of the Iowa economy,” said Roberts. “Iowans realize that we are in an economic recession. The recession is real, and the governor needs to be upfront about how the recession is affecting the Iowa economy.”
Roberts, a 51-year-old state representative from Carroll, made the statement after the governor’s office claimed on Monday that the state experienced a strong boost in revenue for July 2009. The governor’s office suggested that a slight increase in gross revenue indicated that the state’s economy had improved. But Roberts noted that gross revenues only increased slightly for July 2009 because of a state bookkeeping change which now credits the state government with receiving tax dollars which must be passed along to local school districts. As a result, the state’s gross revenues are artificially inflated.
Roberts also pointed out that net revenues—not gross revenues—should be used to determine the health of the Iowa economy. According to a non-partisan state budget office, the Legislative Services Agency (LSA), net revenues for the state dropped 6.1% for the month of July compared to July 2008.
“Net revenue is the amount which the state actually has to spend. It is the true indicator of the health of the state’s economy,” said Roberts. “By focusing on a slight increase in artificially inflated gross revenue rather than a sizeable decrease in net revenue, the governor’s office is not being straightforward about the true health of Iowa’s economy.”
Roberts notes that this is not the first time that the governor’s office has failed to be real with Iowans about the health of the state economy. The governor’s office has also disputed that the state is in a budget crisis, even though the state budget for the fiscal year 2009 ended with a $161 million shortfall. The projected spending gap for fiscal year 2011 is approaching $1 billion dollars. Roberts says that he will be more candid with Iowans as governor.
“Iowans are concerned that the state and nation are in a recession. They don’t need a governor who denies the state’s fiscal challenges; they need a governor who will acknowledge them,” said Roberts.
Roberts said the solution to the state’s budget crisis is to enact fiscally responsible policies. According to Roberts, state government will emerge from its budget crisis by reducing spending and keeping taxes low on businesses and families.