Business & Economy
Teens and Employment PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Joy Venhorst   
Thursday, 16 June 2011 12:56

Encouraging teenage family members to find jobs is one way a family can increase its income during tough times. Many part-time jobs are available that fit into student schedules.

 Evaluating Employment Options
Researchers have studied individuals who grew up during the Depression and worked to help their families. They found work had a positive effect. As adults they were healthier psychologically and were better off for the work experience.

Teens who have goals for the use of their earned income do better, according to recent studies.

Youth who have no clear goals for the use of their earnings spend more on luxuries and develop extravagant spending habits that lead to financial problems in adulthood. Also, these young people are more likely to spend earnings on alcohol and drugs, according to the studies.

Here's a list of ways a teen's income can be managed. Use it to guide a discussion with your teen on how his/her paycheck will be spent:
§ Use a portion for routine expenses incurred by the teen such as school lunches, clothes, gifts, dues and recreation. Save the remainder as an education fund.
§ Contribute a portion to the family household budget and keep a portion for the teenager's personal expenses.
§ Contribute the entire wages to the family budget and give the teen an allowance.

Teen Contributions to Family Budget
An ideal way for the teen to become familiar with the expenses of the whole family is to assist with developing the family budget. Have your teen figure the family budget without any of his/her earnings included. Then, add in a portion of the additional earnings under income and adjust selected expense categories, particularly in areas where the teen normally has expenses. You could also have your teen figure the budget including his/her total earnings.

Sharon M. Danes, Family Resource Management Specialist, University of Minnesota
phone: 612-625-9273

Grassley amendment would safeguard tax dollars awarded as federal grants, ban federal grant awards to tax delinquents PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Grassley Press   
Wednesday, 15 June 2011 14:07

WASHINGTON – Senator Chuck Grassley has offered an amendment designed to prevent fraud, waste and abuse of federal grant programs.  His proposal would amend a bill pending in the Senate which would increase the number of federal grants available for government infrastructure projects administered by state and local governments.

“Federal officials need to make certain due diligence is done on the front end to safeguard tax dollars from grant recipients who are delinquent in paying their taxes.  It’s wrong that someone with big unpaid tax bills would be given a federal grant,” Grassley said.  “After grants are awarded, federal agencies also need to follow up and make sure recipients of taxpayer dollars meet reporting requirements for how the money is spent.”

Grassley was one of four senators who requested a government report that was released in May.  It found that 3,700 contractors and grantees owed $757 million in back taxes, but also received $24 billion in stimulus awards.  The study identified 15 cases of individual contractors or grantees involving “abusive or potentially criminal activity.”  One construction firm owed nearly $400,000 in back taxes but received a contract worth more than $1 million.  One non-profit organization owed more than $2 million from years of unpaid payroll taxes, but received more than $1 million in stimulus funds.

Separately, since last fall, Grassley has worked to get the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to pay attention to the waste and abuse of tens of millions of tax dollars by the Philadelphia Housing Authority.  The Philadelphia Housing Authority received nearly $370 million in HUD money this year plus an additional $127 million in stimulus funds.  “The mess in Philadelphia shows the worst that can happen when the federal government doles out money, but then doesn’t check to make sure that money is used for its intended purpose,” Grassley said.

The amendment that Grassley filed to the Public Works and Economic Development Reauthorization bill this week would apply to federal grant programs authorized by the Public Works and Economic Development Act of 1965.

Grassley’s amendment would:

1)      Ban government agencies from providing grants to any person or entity that is seriously delinquent with tax debt, including anyone with a lien from the federal government.
2)      Require that at least 10 percent of federal grants be audited annually for compliance with program requirements.
3)      Ban for two years any grantee with an unresolved problem based on an audit.

“This amendment is a common-sense accountability measure that should be adopted,” Grassley said.


Harkin Aides Launch Summer Listening Tour to Collect Ideas on How to Rebuild the Middle Class in America PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Harkin Press Office   
Tuesday, 14 June 2011 12:45

DES MOINES – Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) announced today that his staff will visit all 99 counties this summer to hear directly from Iowans on how the economy is impacting families across the state.  The listening tour aims to collect ideas for rebuilding the middle class in America– from recent college graduates looking for employment to working Iowans needing to secure their retirement.  The tour, “Rebuilding America’s Middle Class: Stories from Around Iowa,” will begin next week

The Iowa tour builds upon Harkin’s work in Washington, where he is examining the impact of economic policies on the middle class.  In mid-May, Senator Harkin, as Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, convened his first Committee hearing on this issue entitled, “The Endangered Middle Class: Is the American Dream Slipping Out of Reach for American Families?”  Archived video and testimony from that hearing can be found here.

“As I travel in Iowa and across the country, I hear from more and more hardworking middle class families who feel that the American Dream is slipping away,” said Harkin.  “One thing is certain:  there can be no sustainable economic recovery without the recovery of our middle class.  This listening tour will collect ideas directly from the students, workers, near retirees, and all of those impacted by this economy.”

Each summer, Senator Harkin’s staff visits each Iowa County to talk to Iowans about the issues impacting them and their families.  Staff will then post information on their visits on Senator Harkin’s web site ( Last summer’s tour focused on the positive impact the Americans with Disability Act has had on Iowans as the nation celebrated the law’s 20th anniversary.  To read staff accounts of that tour, click here.

A full list of events is still coming together, but all events will be advised to media by county.

Grassley, Senate Judiciary Committee Members Call for Hearing on Balanced Budget Amendment PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Grassley Press   
Friday, 10 June 2011 12:32

WASHINGTON – Senator Chuck Grassley called on the Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights, Dick Durbin, to immediately begin holding hearings on a balanced budget amendment.

The letter to Durbin, signed by all Republican members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, says that a balanced budget amendment would “put in place a much-needed restraint on runaway Washington spending and protect working Americans from higher taxes.”

“Today of every dollar spent, more than 40 cents is borrowed. Our country is on an unsustainable path,” Grassley said. “It’s time to have an honest and open debate about the fiscal future of our country.”

A balanced budget amendment was last seriously debated in 1997 when the Senate was one vote short of passing the measure.  The budget deficit is now almost 15 times greater than in 1997.

Here is a copy of the text of the letter.  A copy of the signed letter can be found by clicking here.

June 8, 2011

The Honorable Dick Durbin, Chairman
Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights
Senate Judiciary Committee
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20150

Dear Chairman Durbin,

Our nation is facing a fiscal crisis that is only getting worse. The national debt, now over $14 trillion, has increased by more than one-third since January 2009. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates the deficit for the current fiscal year will be approximately $1.4 trillion and the national debt will soon be larger than the economy. The debt also has implications for our national security. Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, calls the debt "the most significant threat to our national security." Secretary of State Hillary Clinton warns that the debt "sends a message of weakness internationally."

Therefore, we ask that you immediately hold hearings on S.J. Res. 10, which calls for a balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution. S.J. Res. 10 would also put in place a much-needed restraint on runaway Washington spending and protect working Americans from higher taxes. S.J. Res. 10 is supported by 47 Senators and has the support of numerous grassroots organizations.

Undoubtedly, Washington has a spending problem and this problem is getting worse. The budget deficit is now almost fifteen times the size it was when the Senate came within one vote of passing a balanced budget amendment in 1997. A balanced budget amendment is a measure that is long overdue and whose time has come.

The American people are demanding action from Washington to get our fiscal house in order once and for all.


John Cornyn
Orrin Hatch
Michael Lee
Jon Kyl
Chuck Grassley
Jeff Sessions
Lindsey Graham
Tom Coburn

Cc: The Honorable Patrick Leahy

Chairman, Senate Judiciary Committee

News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Iowa Farm Bureau   
Friday, 10 June 2011 12:26
WEST DES MOINES, IOWA – June 8, 2011 – One of the keys to success for a new business is the ability to be innovative and stand out from the crowd. Renew Rural Iowa, an Iowa Farm Bureau Federation (IFBF) initiative that supports new and existing businesses through education, mentoring and financial resources, is focusing on the power of innovation with a new series of seminars this summer.

The interactive seminars are designed to connect entrepreneurs and economic developers with the newest economic development tools.  At each free seminar, participants will learn about growth strategies from leading Iowa visionaries, discover how new relationships can strengthen economic development efforts and more. Adam Steen, president of the business development firm 25Connections (, will discuss how partnership and collaboration can grow enterprise value.

“Renew Rural Iowa is based on the principle of innovation and encouraging the innovative use of new and existing tools to help make new connections for business growth,” said Sandy Ehrig, IFBF Renew Rural Iowa economic development administrator.

The seminars will be offered at community colleges across the state and run from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. The sessions are free, but registration is encouraged. For more information and to register, visit

The workshops will be held

  • June 15, Iowa Central Community College, Fort Dodge.
  • June 21, Northeast Iowa Community College, Dubuque.
  • June 23, Eastern Iowa Community College, Clinton.
  • June 28, Iowa Western Community College, Council Bluffs.
  • June 30, Iowa Lakes Community College, Spencer.

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