LETTERS: Trim the fat to make budget cuts effective

By Joe Lynch

Our three major universities, along with other educational institutes in Iowa, are struggling to handle the 10 percent budget cut. Gov. Chet Culver’s simple-minded solution to our budget avoids the tough choices that need to be made to better balance the budget and serve Iowans in a cost-effective manner.

Its costs are born disproportionately by students and the state workers who are low on the totem pole, not executive positions where the real fat is located. The actual budget deficit is only 8 percent. An additional 2 percent cut ignores many more jobs that are unnecessarily lost.

There are hundreds of parasitic executive positions. Recent attempts in union negotiations to increase the supervisor to staff ratio, as reported in the Des Moines Register, do not change this. Many have already been shuffled to executive positions [a paper game] and their high salaries are protected for 3 years after being moved out of supervisor positions.

The direct present cost value to the state from salary payments to at least one hundred of these no work positions is estimated at $100 million dollars, excluding the corruption they cause [examples are the loss of millions in the film tax revenues and IT services duplication, including data servers]. Many executives are also unqualified for the positions they hold. Replacing managers with truly experienced personnel is another way to get more for our state tax dollars.

Eliminating recently instituted levels of state bureaucracy is another way to save state dollars. Economic development positions and offices, such as the Office of Management and Energy Independence, should be first priority for cuts. These agencies are duplicating functions already performed by existing departments such as Iowa Department of Natural Resources and Iowa Department of Economic Development.

It is time to cut the fat out of top executives positions in state government. State tax payers can no longer afford the waste and bad management fostered by these excesses.

Joe Lynch is a resident of Ames.