DES MOINES – The devastating impact of Gov. Chet Culver’s across-the-board budget cut on public safety puts law enforcement personnel at greater risk and proves “all spending cuts aren’t equal but his failed leadership is now undeniable,” Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob Vander Plaats said today.
“The consequences on Chet Culver’ fiscal mismanagement have been building for months. He’s waited and waited and waited to take action while publicly saying he hoped things would get better. That procrastination and lack of leadership have made a bad situation worse. Hitting the Department of Public Safety with a massive budget cut likely to result in law enforcement personnel being laid off is about as bad is it can get,” Vander Plaats said.
Public Safety Commissioner Gene Meyer said Tuesday that one option for dealing with Culver’s mandated 10-percent cut is to lay off approximately 100 sworn officers and civilians and to require all employees to take 13 unpaid furlough days. Without the furloughs, Meyer said 169 officers and civilians would need to be laid off if furloughs aren’t possible.
“Whichever way the department is forced to deal with the situation, there’s no doubt that more trooper positions will be left open through retirements and other moves because Chet Culver didn’t set the right priorities. Our troopers are already stretched thin and are in life-threatening situations every day. There’s no other way to say it: Chet Culver’s budget mismanagement will endanger the lives of the very people we count on to protect us. It’s also bound to lengthen response times to accidents and other emergencies and that will endanger citizens’ lives, too.”
Vander Plaats has urged Culver since June to work with legislators to reduce the impact on essential services by cutting back on other state spending.
“I’ve said it before: I don’t mean any disrespect to my 12-year-old son, but he could make an across-the-board cut. It doesn’t take a lot of thought to do one. Unfortunately, that’s all this governor seems capable of doing,” Vander Plaats said. “Iowa desperately needs a governor with the courage to address our problems head on. We need a governor who will work with legislators, state agencies and the public to rein in spending and focus our limited resources so we’re not putting lives in danger because our public safety budget gets the same treatment as every other project out there.”
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