Saturday, April 23, 2011

No budging on the budget

Gov. Terry Branstad has made it very clear that he will only accept two-year budgets from the Legislature. The Democratic-controlled Senate, though, felt obligated to test his resolve in the matter. It's common for teenagers to push the limit --- especially when Dad proclaims that something will only be done his way. The Senate passed a one-year transportation budget and sent it to the governor. Branstad vetoed that bill and reminded the state's lawmakers that he was not interested in their small-minded attempts at budgeting. He wanted something grander. Two years! It would bring Stability and Prosperity! Branstad claimed the Legislature and the former administration had been quite irresponsible --- paying ongoing expenses with one-time money, approving expenditures but not funding them and swiping money from one part of the budget to pay for costs in other areas. Democrats are now defending themselves by leveling their own accusations --- that Branstad's two-year budget is essentially a power grab. Lawmakers would have limited ability to make any changes to the budget next year under a two-year spending plan. Branstad would basically be able to veto anything he didn't like. Frankly, this seems like a reasonable concern. Any time the executive branch tries to expand its power (no matter who's in the office) it's worth resisting that effort. Still, Branstad has since vetoed a portion of another spending bill forged through a compromise between Republicans and Democrats. He voiced concerns with the approach to tax relief in one measure, which he vetoed. Another tax relief measure in the bill, though, was also contrary to the approach Branstad has said he wanted to take. In the end, the governor decided he could live with that measure and signed it into law. Turns out, the measure he vetoed was pushed by the Democrats while the measure left in the bill was pushed by the Republicans. Surprise, surprise, it looks like Dad has a favorite son.


  1. Thanks Mr. Blew.

    Actually, another reason I like the way that you do these write-ups is the way you link to previous stories. So, it's like an illustrated, annotated summary of the issue, rather than a series of 5 or 6 "breaking news"-type articles spread out over a week or two.

    I am a big fan of adding context and topic-based story structure. See here:

  2. Thanks for the comments, John, and the interesting link. That's always been a goal of mine with this blog, to write something that gives context. I love the ability to embed links, as well, because reading the news stories can give you an even better handle on the topic.