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Iowa Politics Roundup: Obama Urges Patience on Economy, Defends Plan on Bush Tax Cuts PDF Print E-mail
Commentary/Politics - Iowa Politics
Written by Lynn Campbell   
Friday, 01 October 2010 19:00

President Barack Obama used a backyard discussion in Des Moines this week to urge patience on the economy and defend a plan to end the Bush tax cuts for Americans making more than $250,000, saying the nation can’t afford the $700-billion price tag and must make tough choices.

“What we’ve proposed is to extend the Bush tax cuts for all income up to $250,000,” Obama said. “The reason I think it’s important for us to do this is not because I’m not sympathetic to small businesses. It has to do with the fact that 98 percent of small businesses actually have profit of less than $250,000.”

Iowa Politics Roundup: State Kicks Off 40 Days of Voting PDF Print E-mail
Commentary/Politics - Iowa Politics
Written by Lynn Campbell   
Friday, 24 September 2010 10:20

Iowa Democrats are targeting those who don’t normally vote in midterm elections along with first-time voters who supported Barack Obama in 2008 in the push for early voting, which began Thursday in Iowa and lasts for 40 days.

“Tomorrow is Election Day in Iowa,” Iowa Democratic Party Chair Sue Dvorsky declared Wednesday. “Iowans will be able to vote early; they’ll be able to vote by mail; they’ll be able to vote early in person at their auditor’s offices. We have been preparing for Election Day tomorrow since last year, and we are very excited to get ready to kick it off.”

As of Friday, Iowa Democrats had requested more than twice as many absentee ballots as Republicans – 40,632 compared with 16,286 – according to the Iowa secretary of state’s office. There have been a total of 69,376 requests for absentee ballots.

Iowa Politics Roundup: Tax Increases Hot Topic in First Gubernatorial Debate PDF Print E-mail
Commentary/Politics - Iowa Politics
Written by Lynn Campbell   
Friday, 17 September 2010 13:09

Governor Chet Culver repeatedly asserted that former Governor Terry Branstad is not telling the truth and is misleading Iowans, while Branstad argued that Culver’s across-the-board state-budget cut led to property-tax increases across the state during the first televised debate between the two in Sioux City.

The spirited, hour-long debate offered the first direct exchange between the current and former governor. Eighteen minutes into the Tuesday-night event, Branstad said Culver has acknowledged publicly that he’s made mistakes and asked him to name the three biggest.

“Well, Terry, like all governors including you when you were in office for 16 years, we’ve made our fair share of mistakes. The difference is that we’ve taken responsibility for those mistakes,” Culver said. “In your case, you’ve had 20 different scandals in 12 separate state agencies. You continue to not be honest with the people of this state. You attack day after day after day and I think tonight, it’s important that you be straight and honest with the people of Iowa. What happened during your administration?”

Enlarging the Conversation: Why Jonathan Narcisse Matters in the Iowa Gubernatorial Race PDF Print E-mail
Commentary/Politics - Iowa Politics
Written by Jeff Ignatius   
Wednesday, 15 September 2010 07:39

Jonathan NarcisseGiven the density of Jonathan Narcisse’s ideas and plans, he’s smart to dispense the easy-to-grasp metaphor or example.

“Imagine you have a kid who hasn’t cleaned his room for six months,” Narcisse said in a phone interview last week. “And you can try to go in and you can try to clean the room. Or you can get some heavy-duty garbage bags and just go through that room and basically throw everything away, except the bed, the dresser, and a couple other things.”

The 47-year-old Narcisse, a former member of the Des Moines school board, is running an independent candidacy for Iowa governor, appearing on the ballot under The Iowa Party banner. And he wants to approach Iowa state government with some heavy-duty garbage bags in hand. (Full disclosure: River Cities’ Reader Publisher Todd McGreevy is a co-chair of Iowans for a Fair Debate, which is pushing for Narcisse to be included in gubernatorial debates.)

Narcisse’s proposals are radical in the sense that they have no respect for the status quo. Narcisse thinks the two major-party candidates – Governor Chet Culver and former Governor Terry Branstad – are like parents who think a light cleaning is good enough. He disagrees: “We just literally wipe out the massive bureaucracy, because at the end of the day, we spend that money wiser.”

In total, Narcisse is proposing cutting state and local taxes by $1.5 billion to $2 billion a year, with the caveat that equivalent spending reductions must precede tax cuts. For perspective, the Iowa Revenue Estimating Conference in March put the state’s Fiscal Year 2011 general-fund receipts at $6.6 billion.

That type of bold plan has the potential to connect with voters who are dissatisfied with government and politicians.

Iowa Politics Roundup: O’Connor Touts Iowa’s Merit System of Selecting Judges PDF Print E-mail
Commentary/Politics - Iowa Politics
Written by Lynn Campbell   
Friday, 10 September 2010 12:35

Sandra Day O'ConnorRetired U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor on Wednesday touted Iowa’s merit system of selecting judges and warned against injecting politics into the court system during a speech attended by about 500 business, labor, and civic leaders at the Hotel Fort Des Moines.

“We have to address the pressures that are being applied to that one safe place, the courtroom,” O’Connor said. “We have to have a place where judges are not subject to outright retaliation for their judicial decisions. That’s the concept. Sure they can be ousted, and that’s part of the system, but what the framers of our federal constitution tried to do was establish a system of judicial selection where the judges would not be subject to retaliation by the other branches for their judicial actions.”

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