A state senator who oversees spending on public buildings, including the capitol complex, has harsh words for Governor Branstad as state lawmakers move toward adjournment.
The governor has rejected borrowing for infrastructure repairs, including more than $600 million in deferred maintenance.
As a result, repairs will be left undone at the Wallace State Office Building, the State Historical Building, and the Iowa Law Enforcement Academy.
Des Moines Democrat Matt McCoy charges that Branstad will not leave public buildings in better shape than he found them.
“When Governor Branstad leaves office assuming he does not run for reelection again,” McCoy said, “he will have left a state that is in terrible condition from an infrastructure standpoint.”
Governor Branstad argues that bonding in the past has left the state saddled with debt.
“Frankly, the biggest impediment for the (infrastructure) budget has been paying back debt associated with the bonding scheme concocted by Governor Culver and his Senate Democrats,” said Branstad spokesman Ben Hammes in a statement.
“The budget proposed by Gov. Branstad included a pay-as-you-go approach to funding renovations for the State Historical Building,” Hammes said. “However, the governor can only act on what the legislature sends him.”
McCoy says borrowing money under current economic conditions could have saved taxpayer dollars in the long run.
“As the senior governor of the state of Iowa that has a legislature that is willing to work with him,” McCoy says, “his legacy could have been we left the state better than when I found it.
“I don’t think he can say that,” McCoy added.
The Democratic-controlled Senate and Republican-controlled House passed a budget bill Wednesday that would spend nearly $100 million on a range of infrastructure projects.