Culver delivers "Condition of the State" speech - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Culver delivers "Condition of the State" speech

DES MOINES (KWWL)-- Governor Chet Culver is leaving office as Governor-elect Terry Branstad will be sworn in Friday.  Culver delivered his final "condition of the state" speech Tuesday morning.  The address highlighted what Culver sees as the successes of his time in Des Moines, ranging from green energy development to disaster response in the floods and tornados of 2008.  Culver also praised the recovery from the recession and reform measures taken to improve the financial condition of the state.

"All of these reform measures have helped us create a record $950 million surplus, will save us more than $300 million annually, and put us closer to the smaller, smarter and more efficient government our taxpayers deserve," Culver said.

Culver says he has passed along a number of recommendations for Governor-elect Branstad and his administration, including ways to save the state additional money and food safety changes the state can implement following last summer's massive egg recall.

Following the speech, there are a lot of questions on just what legacy Culver will actually leave behind.

As Iowa's 40th governor Chet Culver addressed the full state legislature for the last time, there were moments of applause.

"We are the only state to post 14 consecutive months of sustained economic growth," Culver said.

Experts say some of Culver's remarks about his best accomplishments are justifiable, particularly when it comes to the growth of the state's green energy industry.

"Iowa is one of only two states that manufacture wind mills.  And so he wanted to focus on things that make Iowa distinctive," said Jeff Stein, KWWL political analyst and professor at Wartburg College.

Culver's also likely to be well remembered for his response to the disasters of 2008.  But other part's of the outgoing governor's "condition of the state" address are a bit more debatable.  Republicans and Democrats are divided on the financial condition of the state.  And the state's newly sworn-in legislature will have their hands full trying to determine which side is right and how to balance the books.

"It just depends on how you're looking at the books.  If you're looking at cutting money that was never committed, you see a much greater surplus because none of it is actually real money that's committed yet," Stein said.

Once that all gets sorted out, legislators are indicating that their ultimate goal is economic improvement for the state coming out of the biggest slump since the Great Depression.

KWWL Reporter:  Kera Mashek

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