Office of the Governor of Iowa

Governor Branstad

Branstad vetoes send clear message on a return to responsible budgeting, with a focus on predictability, stability

April 12, 2011

Governor remains committed to biennial budgeting;

Believes Legislature should resume negotiations to provide a supplemental for critical areas of state government;

Vows to work with Legislature to resolve budget issues


Citing a need to return to fiscal responsibility and end the bad budget practices of the past, Gov. Terry E. Branstad today vetoed House File 642 and item-vetoed portions of Senate File 512.

In the attached letter to Senate President Jack Kibbie announcing the item-veto of SF 512, Gov. Branstad said the following:

“I am unable to approve the item designated as Division IV, which includes Sections 26 and 27. This language would have provided the governor with the specific authority to transfer funds to the office of the public defender for payment of court-appointed attorneys for indigent defense purposes. As I have made clear, I strongly support an appropriate supplemental appropriation to pay these court-appointed indigent defense attorneys the money that is owed to them and will continue to work with the General Assembly to resolve this matter.

“The language I disapprove attempts to end the current legislative stalemate over supplemental appropriations for the provision of indigent defense services administered through the State Public Defender’s office.

“This current shortfall in the funds available to pay the state’s indigent defense bills is the result of actions taken during the 2010 Session of the General Assembly wherein the governor and General Assembly approved a budget for indigent defense that purposely underfunded this program by nearly $20 million. This decision was made with the full knowledge the 2011 General Assembly would be forced to take action to provide supplemental funds to the State Public Defender’s office for this purpose.”

Gov. Branstad further noted that the transfer authority does not specify which department, institution or agency of the state should see a decrease in funds as a result.

“In other words, in order to comply with the provisions of Senate File 512 I would be asked to reduce by nearly $20 million the current appropriations in other state agencies to secure the resources necessary to transfer to the State Public Defender’s office…

“This method is totally unacceptable and is a continuation of the numerous bad budgeting practices that has created the fiscal mess our state currently faces…

“I strongly support an appropriate supplemental appropriation to pay our indigent defense costs and will continue to work with the General Assembly to resolve this matter.”

In the attached letter to House Speaker Kraig Paulsen announcing the veto of HF 642, Gov. Branstad said the following:

“When I announced my intention to once again seek the governor’s office I made a pledge to Iowans to end the past budgeting practices that were sending shockwaves throughout our state. I promised to restore predictability and stability to the state budgeting process…

“As a first step toward predictability and stability to state budgeting I have submitted to the Legislature a proposed biennial state budget that includes funding for both Fiscal Years 2012 and 2013 and have also submitted legislation to require the General Assembly and governor to adopt a biennial budget. It is my full expectation that the General Assembly will adopt budgets for all of state government for both fiscal years 2012 and 2013…

“As originally adopted by the Iowa House of Representatives, House File 642 provided appropriations for both Fiscal Years 2012 and 2013. Unfortunately, the Iowa Senate stripped the appropriations for Fiscal Year 2013 and it is in this form House File 642 is currently before me for action. As such, I cannot approve House File 642.”

Gov. Branstad added that “Iowans have every right to demand the governor and General Assembly restore the sound budgeting practices and long-range planning tools that are necessary to ensure predictability and stability in state budgeting and I will continue to work with the General Assembly to make this a reality before adjourning for the year.”