Chet Culver Friday announced a $40 million program designed to
immediately help businesses and homeowners affected by this year's
flood and tornadoes.
He also said he doesn't see an immediate need for a special
legislative session to address disaster recovery. He said he hasn't yet
ruled out a special legislative session but so far, a great deal of
progress is being made without calling lawmakers back to the Capitol.
will call a special session at any time if I feel more needs to be done
in the future," Culver said. He later added that the $40 million
program – which he has named the "Jumpstart" program – "is the most
efficient way of providing immediate relief to Iowans at this time."
The program includes :
• Up to $50,000 in down payment assistance for families whose home was destroyed or severely damaged;
• Up to $50,000 for others who choose to repair rather than rebuild;
• Up to $1,000 a month in mortgage assistance for people who are waiting for governments to take action on buyout programs.
• Up to $72,000 in loans that would be forgiven if the person remains in his or her home for 10 years.
• Forgivable loans for businesses of up to $50,000 to help pay for items such as efficient furnaces, boilers and appliances.
The program will be paid out of the state budget, diverting money
from previously appropriated programs such as the Iowa Power Fund or
money allocated to tourism and a low-head dam program. The Power Fund
is a pool of money lawmakers created last year to promote renewable
Culver said it's possible federal money could be used to restore
some of the money. He said flood recovery is the most urgent need in
the state at this time and that the program would quickly funnel money
to Iowans so they no longer have to wait on federal assistance.
Culver said last week he wouldn't hesitate to call a special
legislative session if major progress wasn't made on several federal
grant allocation processes. He specifically targeted an $85 million
grant from the U.S. Housing and Urban Development that was part of a
congressional allocation made in June.
State officials learned this week that the money will likely make its way to the state by the end of this month, Culver said.
To date, Iowa has been allocated almost $1 billion in assistance, Culver said.
Culver has been under pressure from some to call a special legislative
session. He responded to his opponents today that "now is not the time
for political cheap shots." He specifically noted House Minority Leader
Christopher Rants, who has expressed his desire to call a special
session on many occasions.
"A few of these folks that were making criticisms, including Leader
they have been completely AWOL from the whole process," Culver said,
noting that Rants did not attend any of the Rebuild Iowa Advisory
Rants of Sioux City, acknowledged that he didn't attend the
meetings but said other Republicans did and that he was kept informed.
He said he has visited flood-damaged areas on several occasions and
that his suggestions have never been intended as political digs toward
"All I've asked for is to bring the parties to the table to discuss
a package and have a special session," Rants said. "I haven't
criticized the governor for how he's handled anything."
Housing portion of the Jumpstart program will be administered through
the Iowa Finance Authority. The business portion will be handled by the
Iowa Department of Economic Development.
Lt. Gov. Patty Judge said she believes the program will be running
and making assistance available to Iowans within the next 10 days.