Business & Economy
Braley Announces Waterloo and Cedar Rapids Postal Facilities to Remain Open PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Jeff Giertz   
Monday, 27 February 2012 15:04

Mail processing facilities are no longer considered for closure; Hundreds of jobs saved

Washington, DC – Today, after multiple conversations with the United States Postal Service (USPS), Representative Bruce Braley (IA-01) confirmed that both the Waterloo and Cedar Rapids mail processing facilities are no longer being considered for closure.  Braley has been fighting to save these facilities for months.

“Rain, snow and sleet don’t stop our postal workers, and I’m proud to say that Washington bureaucrats won’t either,” Braley said. “After months of fighting to keep these Iowa facilities open, I’m glad to see that the US Postal Service has finally gotten the message that now is the wrong time to lay off hundreds of workers. We still have a lot of work to do to save more post offices around the state, but this is good news today for Iowa workers.”

The USPS confirmed with Braley’s office earlier this morning that the mail processing facilities in Waterloo and Cedar Rapids will remain open.  Braley is a member of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee, which has legislative authority over the USPS.

In September 2011, Rep. Braley sent a letter to Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe urging him not to close these facilities.  A copy of the letter is copied below and a link is available here:




September 15, 2011

Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe

475 L’Enfant Plaza, SW

Room 10022

Washington, DC 20260-0010


Postmaster General Donahoe:

I’m writing regarding the recent announcement by the United States Postal Service (USPS) that you are considering closing the Waterloo, Cedar Rapids, Carroll and Creston facilities.  I’m extremely disappointed by this announcement, given that this could lead to jobs lost in these communities.

I would like answers to the following questions:

Has the USPS determined how many jobs will be lost as a result of closing the Waterloo, Cedar Rapids, Carroll and Creston facilities?

If so, please provide me with that analysis, with breakdowns for each individual facility.

In addition, I would like to know how many of the employees who will lose their jobs are part time and how many are full time.

If you do not have an analysis, why not, and when does the USPS intend to determine this?

Has the USPS determined what the net job loss will be in Iowa, if these closures move forward?

If so, what has the USPS determined?

If you do not have this analysis, why not, and when does the USPS intend to determine this?

I urge you to delay any closures until full analyses of job losses are complete, Iowans are given an opportunity to provide public comment, and only if you can justify why layoffs are acceptable during these tough economic times.  I’m strongly opposed to any plan that puts Iowans out of work.

Please reply to my request within 10 business days.  Feel free to contact me if I can provide further assistance.


Bruce L. Braley


# # #

Business Tax Reform PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Grassley Press   
Monday, 27 February 2012 14:46
Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Senator Chuck Grassley made the following comment about the tax reform proposal put forward today by the Obama Administration.

“The President’s proposal for business tax reform is disappointing for its lack of substantive leadership, especially considering the importance of tax reform and tax certainty in getting America back to work and keeping America competitive in the global economy.  The President’s proposal is overly vague with the exception of demagogic political proposals, like those related to aircraft and oil and gas depreciation rules.  Instead of a campaign document, and one that isn’t a credible plan of action, American workers need and deserve leadership from the White House for a tax code that will encourage economic growth and job creation.”

Governor Quinn Delivers Budget Address PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Andrew Mason   
Monday, 27 February 2012 14:38

Reduces Discretionary Spending to Below 2008 Levels;
Cuts FY2013 Agency Spending by $425M

SPRINGFIELD - February 22, 2012. Governor Pat Quinn today delivered his fiscal year 2013 budget address to the Illinois General Assembly, a plan for budget stability through major reductions and efficiencies, pension and Medicaid stabilization, fundamental tax reform and jobs and economic growth. The Governor proposed a budget that takes necessary steps to restore fiscal stability to Illinois, ensure job growth and a strong education for children across the state.

“The truth is that over the past 35 years, too many governors and members of the General Assembly have clung to budget fantasies rather than confronting hard realities, especially when it comes to our pension and Medicaid investments,” Governor Quinn said. “Today I am proposing a budget that includes serious spending reductions and major reforms in order to restore fiscal stability to our state and build and grow our economy.”

The Governor’s budget has reduced discretionary spending to below 2008 levels. Agency spending has been cut by more than $425M since Fiscal Year 2012. Governor Quinn’s introduced budget is based upon Budgeting for Results. The new budgeting process ensures that the proposed budget is based on existing revenues, funding policy priorities that are most important to helping move Illinois forward and ensuring that taxpayer dollars are spent wisely.

Spending Reductions and Efficiencies


Since taking office, Governor Quinn has significantly reduced discretionary spending, achieving more reductions than any Governor in recent memory. In 2008, general funds were $25.7 billion. The Governor’s introduced budget of $24.8 billion is a 3.6 percent decrease, bringing general funds below 2008 levels. The Governor is calling for most agency budgets to be reduced by at least 9 percent. The Governor cut his own budget by 9 percent and asked all constitutional officers to do the same.

Under Governor Quinn, the state has already realized close to $200 million in annual savings by reducing the number of state employees by more than 2,200 since January of 2009. Today, the Governor announced plans to further reduce state employee headcount by more than 700.

The state has consolidated and eliminated lease space, primarily in the Chicago area, saving more than $43 million with more savings expected during fiscal year 2013. At Governor Quinn’s direction, a number of state agencies will reduce or consolidate facilities. During the coming year, 59 state facilities, offices, garages and other governmental buildings will close 

Pension and Medicaid Stabilization

The state’s pension and Medicaid systems are the greatest financial pressure on Illinois’ budget, and limit the ability to provide core services that people throughout the state depend upon.

For decades, the necessary payments were not made to the pension system, and increased benefits were promised without sufficient revenue to pay for those benefits. As a result, Illinois’ pension system is now under-funded by $83 billion. For the past three years, Governor Quinn has paid exactly what the law required into the pension system.

To address Illinois’ unfunded liability, Governor Quinn has convened a working group to deliver a proposal by April 17 to repair the state’s pension systems. At the Governor’s direction, everything is on the table including historical funding practices, employer contributions, employee contributions, the retirement age and the cost of living adjustment.

The Governor and his administration have also developed a roadmap for Medicaid restructuring. Today, the Governor pledged that his administration will work with the General Assembly to find a combination of liability reductions, modernized eligibility standards, utilization controls, rate reduction and reform, acceleration of integrated managed care, and coordination of long-term care programs to manage Medicaid spending.

Last year’s Medicaid appropriation fell nearly $2 billion short, which means that at the end of this fiscal year, the state will owe $1.9 billion in unpaid Medicaid bills. The combination of Medicaid bills deferred to future years, the expiration of federal stimulus, enrollment growth resulting from the recession and Illinois’ fee-for-service system has led to unsustainable growth in Medicaid spending. The Governor has therefore proposed cutting $2.7 billion in order to ensure that the state’s Medicaid program can be returned to sustainability and continue delivering essential medical services for those that need them.



Governor Quinn also reaffirmed his commitment to rebalancing the way Illinois cares for individuals with developmental disabilities and mental illness to improve their quality of life. The FY 13 budget includes funding to ensure smooth transitions and coordinated care as individuals move from costly institutions to supportive community settings.

The Governor today announced plans to close two additional centers, Murray Developmental Center and Singer Mental Health Center, over the course of the next fiscal year. Through this rebalancing process, the administration will comply with all consent decrees, provide individualized care and ultimately achieve savings for the state.


Tax Reform

For far too long, the Illinois Revenue Code has included many loopholes that are based on politics – not economics. Today, Governor Quinn directed a thorough search of the Illinois Revenue Code for unnecessary loopholes that do not efficiently support jobs and economic growth.

The Governor has instructed Revenue Director, Brian Hamer to meet with legislative leaders of both houses and parties to identify and close unfair loopholes. Loophole revenue can be used to pay down the state’s backlog of bills and provide targeted tax relief for hard-working families and businesses.


Investing in Education

In today’s budget address, Governor Quinn reiterated his commitment to education, jobs and economic growth. To move Illinois forward, we must ensure that we are providing all Illinois students with a high-quality education and preparing our workers for the jobs of today and tomorrow.

The Governor’s budget maintains funding for K-12 and higher education. In addition, the state will increase early childhood funding by $20 million. The Monetary Award Program (MAP), which provides college scholarships for needy students, will also see a funding increase of more than $50 million during fiscal year 2013 to help deserving students achieve higher degrees.

For more information and copies of Governor Quinn’s operating and capital budget proposals for fiscal year 2013, please visit


Lt. Governor Simon FY13 Budget Statement PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Kara Beach   
Monday, 27 February 2012 14:37

SPRINGFIELD – February 22, 2012. Following the Governor’s budget address, Lt. Governor Sheila Simon recognized state agencies that voluntarily made cuts to help balance the fiscal year 2013 budget and encouraged state residents to participate in public hearings that will be held on proposed facility closures.


“A responsible budget must be based on real revenue. With pension and Medicaid costs eating up more of our tax dollars, we must reduce spending. As Lt. Governor, I worked hard to cut 9 percent of our budget, and applaud the other agencies who scoured their operations to do the same. As a Southern Illinois resident, I am disappointed that the state is proposing facility closures in areas that already suffer from high unemployment. I encourage the people whose livelihoods will be affected to join me in the budget process and speak up as we review the economic impact of such closures.”


Simon’s fiscal year 2013 appropriation request is more than 9 percent lower than her budget request from fiscal year 2012 and includes a reduction in full-time staff, from 24 to 21 members. The appropriation request is the lowest in at least 16 years and will net taxpayers a savings of nearly $200,000. In FY12, Simon is the only constitutional officer to return the equivalent of 12 days pay to the General Revenue Fund. Her senior staff voluntarily is taking four unpaid furlough days in FY12, as well.


As the Governor’s point person on education reform and a member of the Budgeting for Results Commission, Simon recently announced a community college reform package that will use existing state resources to increase college completion rates. As chair of the Classrooms First Commission, Simon is developing recommendations that will make elementary and high school districts more efficient.



U.S.-Korea trade agreement effective date PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Sen. Chuck Grassley   
Friday, 24 February 2012 15:06

Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa today made the following comment on the announcement from the United States Trade Representative that the trade agreement between the United States and South Korea will go into effect on March 15.  Grassley and others have long-awaited the trade agreement for its significant benefits to U.S. farmers, businesses, and services providers.  Congress approved the trade agreement’s implementing legislation in October 2011 after long delays in President Obama’s submission of the legislation to Congress.  Upon approval of the implementing legislation, the President was authorized “to exchange notes with Korea providing for the entry into force at such time as the President determines that Korea has taken measures necessary to comply with provisions of the agreement that are to take effect on the date of the entry into force,” according to the trade representative’s office.  Grassley is a senior member of the Finance Committee, with jurisdiction over international trade, and former chairman and ranking member of the committee.


Grassley comment:


“This is good news.  U.S. workers deserve the boost from this new market access.  They’ll rise to the challenge with quality goods and services.  The implementation of this trade agreement was a long time in coming.  It’s ironic that the same Administration that was slow to present the implementing legislation gave the agreement such a fast turn-around from legislative approval to the effective date.  I hope the speed of implementation doesn’t cause problems.  Anything that’s not spelled out now could be the source of trade disputes later.”

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