Archive for June 16, 2012
Burlington receives grant for downtown revitalization
The Iowa Economic Development Authority has awarded Burlington a federally-funded downtown revitalization grant for the rehabilitation of downtown buildings. Grant funds help leverage private investment and improve physical conditions, while bringing new businesses and job creation on Iowa’s Main Streets.
Grants are awarded based on the potential impact of the project, a comprehensive downtown revitalization strategy, commitment of local resources, and assurance that revitalization will continue following project completion. More information here.
Nobody’s giving up on cutting property taxes
Cutting property taxes is long overdue here in Iowa, and it would be a great way to create local jobs.
Senate Democrats have taken the advice of Iowans, community leaders and business leaders from across the state in putting together a plan for cutting commercial property taxes.
The Legislature does its best work when we avoid divisive issues and work together on the top priorities of Iowans. Iowans want property tax relief. That’s why I’m frustrated and disappointed that the House, Senate and Governor let the opportunity to pass permanent property tax reform slip through our fingers this year.
In 2011, the Iowa Senate voted 46-4 for $200 million annually in commercial property tax relief. Four out of five commercial property tax payers would have received a 40 percent tax cut under the Senate’s bipartisan plan—a plan that would not shift any additional tax burden to homeowners. Unfortunately, our proposal was not taken up in the Iowa House.
During the 2012 session, we developed a bigger, bolder plan that would have cut commercial property taxes by more than $350 million. In the end, Senate File 2344 got caught up in election-year politics. It didn’t garner one Republican vote, despite including suggestions from Governor Branstad and Republican lawmakers.
This was a missed opportunity. It would have dramatically cut property taxes for almost every business and also would have cut taxes for working families.
I will continue to push for a commercial property tax cut for every Iowa business—one that helps our small businesses the most, without hurting local schools and services. I know we can get the job done.
Opportunities for Iowans to help advance student achievement
There are two new opportunities for Iowans interested in boosting student achievement and improving local schools.
First, the state is seeking members to serve on the advisory boards for six newly established regional STEM network hubs. The board members and hubs will work locally to boost student achievement in science, technology, engineering and math education, while promoting economic growth in these areas. The regional advisory boards are part of the Education Budget (Senate File 2321) that I helped approve this year.
Iowans from a variety of backgrounds are encouraged to apply for the regional advisory board positions. Whether you work in education, workforce development or business—even if you’re a student—your experience can make a difference and help create world-class schools for all Iowans.
Applications are due June 22. For more information, go to www.governor.iowa.gov/news and click on “Branstad, Reynolds, Allen announce Governor’s STEM Regional Advisory Boards.”
Second, an Iowa Teacher and Principal Leadership Symposium will take place on August 3 in Des Moines. In an effort to improve student achievement statewide, the event will focus on new ideas for educational leadership and how they can be used to improve our local schools so that students get the skills they need to succeed in the 21st century economy.
All Iowans—educators, parents, students and community leaders—are encouraged to participate. Your input will be helpful as the Legislature continues to look at ways to improve student achievement during the 2013 session and beyond.
For more information on the symposium or to register, go to http://educationleadership.iowa.gov.
Reports look at local jobs and economy
What opportunities and challenges do we face in growing our economy and creating more good jobs? A new set of reports from Iowa Workforce Development helps to answer that question, providing a valuable tool as we work to improve job-training opportunities, boost our local economy and create more high-quality jobs.
The Workforce and Economic Development Regional Status Reports look at demographics, infrastructure, employment, labor force, local industries, education, government and more. Check them out—and see how we’re doing here in our area and how we can improve .
Nominate an environmentally friendly farmer
Do you know a farmer who has been a leader in environmental stewardship on their farm, using a variety of techniques and best management practices that improve water quality and soil? Consider nominating them for the new Iowa Farm Environmental Leader Award. This award seeks to recognize farmers for their responsible choices and encourage others to build on their successes.
Nominations are open until June 30, and award recipients will be recognized at this year’s Iowa State Fair. Nomination forms are available here.
Connect with the great outdoors at Iowa Trails Summit
This year’s Iowa Trails Summit will be held June 15-16 in Cedar Falls/Waterloo. The event brings together trails enthusiasts as well as state, local and regional groups who care about outdoor trail recreation in Iowa. This year, speakers will focus on re-connecting families with trails, Iowa’s vision for healthy communities and the future of trail development in Iowa.
The Iowa Trails Summit brings together a variety of trail users, including pedestrians, cyclists, equestrians, motorized users, cross-country skiers, mountain bikers and inline skaters. Outdoor recreation exhibits and opportunities will be open to the public, including kayaks and canoes, hiking, ATV rides, biking and horses. To register or learn more, go to http://iowatrailssummit.org.
Des Moines, IA 50319
2609 Clearview Drive
Burlington, IA 52601
I know Jesus is on the side of the Republicans. We get told that all the time by the pious people who praise Jesus while cutting food stamps and
health care for poor kids. These are the same ones who believe that the rich should be much, much richer while the poor will learn a lot by starving. And they are also teaching a lesson to those who can’t afford health insurance. Constant pain and fear of death can be a real teacher.
Now I don’t read the bible much. Pretty much anymore all I read are the snippets that get posted on the internet and in letters to the editor that claim Jesus condemns this or that. One of the last things I did read was the Sermon on the Mount. From what I remember, that thing is way out of whack with today’s new and improved Jesus.
As I recall, the Sermon on the Mount was a series “blessed are” statements called beatitudes. Many said that the poor or sick or those who share were blessed. Well, that sure doesn’t line up with the work they are having Jesus do in today’s world. So it will certainly be much easier to change the Sermon than to change the world. So let’s see if we can update that moldy, out-of-date sermon.
Just for review, here is that out of date list:
- the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
- they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.
- the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.
- they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.
- the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.
- the pure in heart: for they shall see God.
- the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.
- they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
How could anything be more out of date and out of touch with reality as Republicans see it? Let’s see if we can’t make them a little more in touch with the problems of American society as seen through the red glasses:
- Blessed are those who cut programs for the poor, for theirs is donations from the rich.
- Blessed are those who attack homosexuals, for they shall destroy those they target.
- Blessed are those who blame our problems on the immigrant, for they shall be believed.
- Blessed are those who deny health care to the poor for theirs is donations from the corporations.
- Blessed are those who blame women, for they shall gain control of women.
- Blessed are the rich, for they shall own the earth.
- Blessed are those who destroy the public trust for they shall privatize society and reap big profits.
- Blessed are those who control the message for they will keep the people from realizing what happened.
There, I think that is probably in line with where the Republican party wants Jesus to lead us.
Oops – forgot the environment. Hope they won’t mind an extra beatitude:
- Blessed are those who pillage the earth for soon nothing else will matter.