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Slight Uptick in Revenue Gives Lawmakers $250 Million More Next Year PDF Print E-mail
Commentary/Politics - Iowa Politics
Written by Lynn Campbell   
Friday, 16 December 2011 11:15

Governor Terry Branstad and Iowa lawmakers will have $6.25 billion in state revenue to work with for the Fiscal Year 2013 budget, and state law allows them to spend up to 99 percent of that amount.

That’s $251.3 million, or 4.2 percent, more than what’s available in the current fiscal year, but only a slight uptick from previous projections.

“Very little has changed in the national or the Iowa economy” since October, said Holly Lyons, director of the fiscal services division of the Legislative Services Agency – the nonpartisan support arm of the legislature.

 
Property-Tax Relief Tops Priorities for Business Groups PDF Print E-mail
Commentary/Politics - Iowa Politics
Written by Lynn Campbell   
Friday, 02 December 2011 12:00

Iowa business groups, undeterred by the lack of success this year in getting state lawmakers to lower property taxes, will make the issue a top priority once again in the 2012 legislative session.

The Iowa Chamber Alliance, a nonpartisan coalition representing 16 chambers of commerce and economic-development groups statewide, on November 30 released its 2012 legislative priorities. Property-tax relief topped the list.

“The table is set for a substantive dialogue,” said John Stineman, executive director of the Iowa Chamber Alliance. “All the right people are talking, and they’re talking about the right things. We just have to make sure that at the end of the day, they can reach an agreement.”

In the nation, Iowa has the second-highest urban commercial property taxes and rural commercial property taxes, according to the National Taxpayers Conference. Its 50-state property-tax study is often cited by Governor Terry Branstad.

 
Gingrich Gets Straight “A”s from Iowa Corn Growers PDF Print E-mail
Commentary/Politics - Iowa Politics
Written by Lynn Campbell   
Thursday, 01 December 2011 13:14

Former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich was the only presidential candidate to receive straight “A”s in a report card on agricultural issues released November 30 by the Iowa Corn Growers Association.

While other GOP presidential candidates have called for phasing out federal energy tax credits, including those for ethanol, Gingrich has voiced his support for the corn-based fuel additive.

 
Law to Reduce State Supervisors Never Fully Implemented PDF Print E-mail
Commentary/Politics - Iowa Politics
Written by Lynn Campbell   
Friday, 18 November 2011 05:52

A law aimed at slashing the number of supervisors overseeing the work of Iowa state employees has never been fully implemented.

Lawmakers learned November 16 that Senate File 2088, the government reorganization bill signed into law in 2010, has languished because of a lack of feedback.

The law was designed to save the state money by finding efficiencies in government. It called for a “span of control,” with a goal of one supervisor for every 15 workers.

But Jeff Panknen, chief operating officer for the Iowa Department of Administrative Services’ Human Resources Enterprise, on November 16 told a panel of lawmakers that the Iowa Department of Management never gave feedback on a draft policy to implement the law in April 2010, so nothing was formalized.

 
GOP Candidates: End Tax Credits for Ethanol, Wind Energy PDF Print E-mail
Commentary/Politics - Iowa Politics
Written by Lynn Campbell   
Tuesday, 01 November 2011 14:36

Four Republican presidential candidates called Tuesday for phasing out federal energy tax credits, including those for wind energy and ethanol, the corn-based fuel additive.

The calls came despite Iowa being the nation’s top producer of corn and (according to the American Wind Energy Association) ranking second in the nation for wind-energy capacity.

“I believe we have to get rid of all tax incentives for all energy,” said former Pennsylvania U.S. Senator Rick Santorum. “I think we have to have a level playing field. ... I don’t think we should create a heart attack for any industry, but we should phase them out over a period of time.”

Five candidates spoke at the manufacturing forum attended by roughly 550 people, televised nationally by PBS, and hosted by the National Association of Manufacturers – the nation’s largest industrial trade association, representing 12,000 manufacturing companies in all 50 states.

 
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