I couldn’t help but notice the irony in the title of O. Kay Henderson’s Radio Iowa report titled, “Agencies submit cuts; governor rides rails.” That sounds pretty similar to “Rome burns; Nero fiddles.”
I’m not saying that the current state budget cuts are as bad as Rome burning, of course. As far as I’m concerned they should cut the budget even more. But I do appreciate the irony in the fact that as current state services are being cut, Governor Culver is joyriding on a train, showing where he wants to dump even more taxpayer money to feed his railroad fetish.
Not wanting to prioritize, Culver made the 10% cut across-the-board. Cuts would include laying off 44 law enforcement officers (including 20 State Troopers, whose manpower was already at a 45 year low) and a fire inspector at the Dept. of Public Safety. The Quad City Times reports that the cuts will also have a “devastating impact” on the function of Iowa’s court system.
In terms of layoffs, the Department of Corrections will be the hardest hit with 515 jobs lost. “The impact will affect all departments in every level of service,” said corrections officials. “A reduced workforce will create serious safety concerns for the public, staff and offenders within the maximum security facility. In line with the security concern is the closing of four towers.”
Cops, courts and corrections sound like legitimate core functions of the state government to me. Should they really be cut at the exact same percentage as, say, the Department of Cultural Affairs or Iowa Public Television?
“The other neat thing we’re doing is we’ll be able to invest in the depots and modernize them,” Culver states in the Radio Iowa article. One such depot is the one in Osceola which is currently undergoing a $600,000 renovation. “And they’re bringing that historic place, you know, back to life,” said Culver.
Play your fiddle, Sir. Do you know “I’ve Been Working On the Railroad?”