CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa -- Cedar Rapids Mayor Ron Corbett, a Republican candidate for governor, made what he would consider an unflattering comparison: Iowa's current Republican Governor Kim Reynolds is behaving like the former Democratic Governor Chet Culver.
"Big Debt Chet," Corbett reminded supporters in Cedar Rapids of the nickname given to Culver by the Terry Branstad and Kim Reynolds campaign when it ousted the one-term governor in 2010.
Corbett said Reynolds will end up borrowing more money than Culver did in his administration. The previous fiscal year that ended in June could finish $350 million below expectations. To deal with that, the Branstad/Reynolds administration shifted $132 from reserves, made $110 million in emergency spending cuts and may need to borrow nearly $100 million more when the books close in September to pay for any unpaid bills.
"Is the governor really vulnerable?" Corbett asked rhetorically to his room of supporters. "The answer to that question is...yes, she is."
Corbett chastised Reynolds for not releasing a tax reform plan yet, so that the public can weigh in on it before lawmakers return for the legislative session in January. He also challenged her to call lawmakers back into special session to address what he sees as another revenue shortfall in the current fiscal year.
Reynolds may already have to call lawmakers back into session to authorize shifting more money from reserves to pay leftover bills from the previous fiscal year.
Corbett has previously released his tax plan that calls for raising the statewide sales tax one penny, eliminating credits and deductions for Iowans making more than $10,000 a year and lowering the tax rate from 9 to 3 percent.
Governor Reynolds' office issued the following statement in response to Corbett's comments:
"Governor Reynolds made clear on day one that comprehensive tax reform is her top priority to grow Iowa's economy and build a better Iowa. It was the first policy item she mentioned in her swearing in address.
"As you may have seen, Governor Reynolds was in DC this morning, fighting for Iowans, advocating for a robust Renewable Fuel Standard. A strong RFS grows our Agriculture economy, and will help our farmers get through the most turbulent farm economy we've experienced in many years."