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Iowa Politics Roundup: Legislators Brace for Across-the-Board Budget Cut PDF Print E-mail
Commentary/Politics - Iowa Politics
Written by Lynn Campbell   
Friday, 02 October 2009 15:20

Following a meeting of the Revenue Estimating Conference on Wednesday, Iowa state-government workers and legislative leaders are bracing for what they predict will be at least a 3-percent across-the-board budget cut.

"I can't imagine a scenario that there's not going to be an across-the-board cut," said House Minority Leader Kraig Paulsen (R-Hiawatha). "I think it's going to be higher than 1 percent. I don't anticipate the governor is going to call us into special session."

State revenues in the current fiscal year, which began July 1, continue to fall.

A report released by the Legislative Services Agency (LSA) showed year-to-date Fiscal Year 2010 total net receipts decreased $141.1 million (9.1 percent) compared to the first quarter of fiscal 2009. Key to the decline was a $26.5-million (27.5-percent) drop in receipts from the corporate tax.

 
Committee Chairs Urge Patience with Probe of Film-Tax-Credit Scandal PDF Print E-mail
Commentary/Politics - Iowa Politics
Written by Lynn Campbell   
Friday, 25 September 2009 13:26

The scandal surrounding the Iowa's film-tax-credit program was a hot topic at a meeting this week of the legislature's Government Oversight Committee, with lawmakers and the media eager to get answers but leadership saying committee discussion now could impede the investigation.

"If the leadership was different, we'd be taking it up today," said Representative Ralph Watts (R-Adel).

Representative Vicki Lensing (D-Iowa City), co-chair of the Government Oversight Committee, said this isn't a political issue and agreed that the panel has a responsibility to taxpayers and the legislature to find out what happened.

 
Iowa Politics Roundup: Security Not Worth the Cost, General Powell Says in Iowa Seminar PDF Print E-mail
Commentary/Politics - Iowa Politics
Written by Lynn Campbell   
Friday, 18 September 2009 14:46

Colin PowellAmerica is starting to pay too great a price for the increased security since the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, and anger has become too much a part of public life, retired General Colin Powell said at a motivational seminar Thursday attended by approximately 15,000 people in downtown Des Moines.

"We are starting to pay too much for our security," said Powell, a four-star general, former U.S. secretary of state, and former chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. "Foreign students who normally come to our universities are not coming. It's too hard to get a visa ... so we are losing this contact with the rest of the world. We are losing money, also."

 
Iowa Politics Roundup: Harkin Assumes New Chairmanship PDF Print E-mail
Commentary/Politics - Iowa Politics
Written by Lynn Campbell   
Friday, 11 September 2009 13:44

Tom HarkinWith passage of two Farm Bills behind him and the nation in the midst of a debate over health-care reform, U.S. Senator Tom Harkin's decision to give up his chairmanship of the Senate Agriculture Committee disappointed but didn't surprise Iowa Agriculture Secretary Bill Northey.

"While there are still issues in front of the ag committee, it's not the same as if there's another Farm Bill just around the corner," Northey said in an interview with IowaPolitics.com. "With all the action on health care right now, I would certainly understand why he'd look to be involved over there."

Harkin this week gave up his ag chairmanship to instead lead the Senate Health, Education, Labor, & Pensions (HELP) Committee.

 
Iowa Politics Roundup: Democrats Tout Win in Special Election PDF Print E-mail
Commentary/Politics - Iowa Politics
Written by Lynn Campbell   
Friday, 04 September 2009 14:27

Democrat Curt Hanson defeated Republican Stephen Burgmeier by 107 votes Tuesday in a special election for Iowa House District 90, according to unofficial results from the Iowa secretary of state.

Hanson tallied 48.9 percent of the votes to Burgmeier's 47.5 percent, allowing Democrats to retain their 56-44 majority in the Iowa House. Hanson replaces Representative John Whitaker (D-Hillsboro), who resigned to serve as state executive director of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Farm Service Agency.

 
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