Lt. Governor Wants $150,000 for Transition to Governor, Democrats Question Need

Lieutenant Governor Kim Reynolds. (WHO-HD)

DES MOINES, Iowa–Iowa lawmakers will pass a budget for the coming year that will be millions of dollars smaller than the current $7.2 billion plan. The next budget will also likely include $150,000 for Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds’ transition to replace Governor Terry Branstad.

Branstad is expected to resign in the next month or two once the U.S. Senate confirms him to become the U.N. Ambassador to China. Reynolds on Thursday defended the additional money. “I don’t think it’s unreasonable to ask for that,” Reynolds said, “It’s been done before. It will be used for only expenditures related to the transition.”

Former Governor Chet Culver received $170,000 from lawmakers for his transition. Legislators approved $25,000 for Tom Vilsack’s transition.

Staffers say Reynolds could use the money for to pay for unused vacation and other benefits to employees who depart when Branstad leaves.

Democrats, including State Senator Matt McCoy of Des Moines, questioned how the current administration could ask for money during tight budget times. McCoy said, “The governor’s office hasn’t taken a single cut and they’re asking for $150,000 to transition the same administration from one to another. That’s a little bit obscene. And I would tell the governor to feel the pain that everybody else is feeling. And suck it up, buttercup.”