Business & Economy
Farm Bill Deficit Deal Must Include Real Reform PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by John Crabtree   
Monday, 17 October 2011 12:13
Lyons, Nebraska - For the Center for Rural Affairs, the most troubling concern about a  proposal rumored to be forthcoming in a letter from House and Senate Agriculture Committee leaders to the twelve member deficit reduction “Super Committee” is whether it would follow the trend of recent farm bill proposals and continue to allow the single most wasteful and counterproductive feature of current farm policy - virtually unlimited federal crop and revenue insurance subsidies.


*Following is a list of questions and background on the subjects mentioned above...

Will the nation’s largest farms and wealthiest landowners get a pass on contributing to deficit reduction?

Will the Agriculture Committees’ recommendations to the Super Committee continue the single most wasteful and counterproductive feature of current farm policy - unlimited payments to subsidize the nation’s largest farms to drive small operations out of business?  

Any serious reform of federal farm programs must cap federal crop and revenue insurance subsidies to mega farms.  They are the most expensive element of farm programs, costing $7 billion annually. And if one big corporation farmed all of America, USDA would pay 60 percent of its insurance premiums on every acre for protection from low prices and crop failure.

Why should the federal government pay 60% of crop insurance premiums on every acre of the largest farms and richest landowners in America, especially in the midst of record high farm income and record federal deficits?

Any serious reform must also close loopholes in the cap on other farm payments. Senators Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Tim Johnson (D-SD) have again introduced legislation to close those loopholes, but it is not incorporated in either the President’s proposal or any of the budget proposals introduced in Congress. That means that whatever revised safety net is established will include no cap on benefits for anyone who takes the steps to form a general partnership with investor partners.

Finally, will the Agriculture Committees’ budget proposal include any room for funding for rural development and beginning farmer programs that invest in creating a future in rural America?   We probably know the answer.  But consider this.  The two last farm bills have invested an average of about $45 million annually in rural development programs from mandatory funds.  Overall federal rural development funding has fallen by more than one quarter since 2003. (See below.)

Why should continuing recent levels of farm bill funding for rural development be a lesser priority than paying the crop insurance premiums for the biggest farms and richest landowners in America, without limit, at a time of record deficits and record farm income?

Subsidies should be capped to powerful mega-farm interests and the savings reinvested in rural development programs that support small business and beginning farmers, create jobs for ordinary rural Americans and build a more vibrant future for small town America.

Rural Community Development Budget Authority Final Appropriation FY 03-11 and President’s Proposed FY 12 Budget (excluding ARRA and mandatory funds for water and sewer backlog )

 

 

FY03

 

FY04

FY05

FY06

FY07

FY08

FY9

FY10

FY11

FY12

Water/Sewer

723.2

 

605

552.1

530.1

554

539

566.8

568

529

489

Buss-ness

127.7

 

91.5

89.6

109.5

71.3

105.9

123.9

121.4

108.3

125

Comm Facility

96.8

 

75.9

89.1

82.6

77

69

50.1

55

41.62

38

Total

947.7

 

772.4

730.8

722.2

702.3

713.9

740.8

744.4

679.1

675

 
Governor Quinn Announces Statewide Veterans Job Fairs PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Katelyn Tye   
Friday, 14 October 2011 11:39

SPRINGFIELD – October 13, 2011. Governor Pat Quinn’s Office and the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) will host job fairs across the state to help put Veterans back to work. The fairs are part of the Governor Quinn’s ongoing efforts to grow jobs and connect qualified job seekers with ready-to-hire employers.

 

Thursday, Oct. 27

Tellabs Center, 10 a.m.-3 p.m.

1415 West Diehl Road, Naperville

Business contact: Cornel Thomas (630) 495-5781

 

John A. Logan College, Conference Center, 9 a.m.-12 p.m.

700 Logan College Road, Carterville

Business contact: John Otey (618) 242-6121 ext. 130

 

Monday, Nov. 7.

American Legion Post 979, 9 a.m.-2 p.m.

4501 S. Airport Road, Bartonville

Business contact: Sue Armstrong (309) 346-4171 Ext.237

 

Tuesday Nov. 8

Daley College, Main Auditorium, 9 a.m.-2p.m.

7500 S. Pulaski, Chicago

Business contact: Sam Miller (773) 947-3663

Wednesday, Nov. 9

National Guard Armory, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.

1616 S. Main St., Bloomington

Business contact: Randy Hegland (217) 782-0161

 

Southwestern Illinois College, 9 a.m.-1 p.m.

2500 Carlyle Ave., Belleville

Business contact: John Otey (618) 242-6121 ext. 130

 

Roland Lewis Community Building, 9 a.m.-Noon

800 S. 27th St., Mt. Vernon

Business contact: John Otey (618) 242-6121 ext. 130

 

Thursday, Nov. 10

Orland Park Civic Center, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.

14750 Ravinia Ave., Orland Park

Business contact: Reginald Whitley (708) 596-2345

 

Effingham National Guard Armory, 9 a.m.-Noon

1206 W. Temple Ave., Effingham

Business contact: John Otey (618) 242-6121 ext. 130


 

 

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Passage of free trade agreements with South Korea, Panama and Colombia PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Sen Chuck Grassley   
Friday, 14 October 2011 11:30

Senator Chuck Grassley made the following comment about Senate passage tonight of free trade agreements with South Korea, Panama and Colombia.

“Exports have an important part to play in the economic recovery effort.  Private sector employers need an international trade agenda that opens new doors to sell U.S. agricultural goods, manufactured products and services.  These votes in the Senate are a very important step in the right direction, but they were delayed unnecessarily for years, and the rest of the world is moving ahead without us.  We’re more than capable of increasing exports, but we need the markets to do it.  The President has said he wants to double exports.  In order to reach his goal and to do everything possible to generate economic activity and opportunities in the United States, the administration needs to move forward on other job-generating trade initiatives without delay.”

 
US House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Jeff Giertz   
Friday, 14 October 2011 10:46

I wanted to give you a personal heads up that tomorrow, the US House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform will be voting on HR 2309, the Postal Reform Act of 2011.  This is the bill written by California Rep. Darryl Issa that would permit the US Postal Service to begin the process of shutting down hundreds of post offices across Iowa and the country.

As you know, the Postal Service has released a long list of small town post offices in Iowa that face the possibility of closure.  You can view that list at the following link: http://about.usps.com/news/electronic-press-kits/expandedaccess/states/iowa.htm

Rep. Bruce Braley is a member of the Oversight and Government Reform committee, and has actively opposed the closure of post offices in Iowa.  He will be attending the hearing tomorrow, and we will be releasing additional information on his efforts tomorrow as well.  However, I wanted to make sure you had details on this hearing, as it impacts post offices in almost every county in Iowa:

Oversight and Government Reform Committee

Hearing on HR 2309, the Postal Reform Act of 2011

9:30am EDT // 8:30am CDT

2154 Rayburn House Office Building

Washington, DC

A video feed of the hearing will be streamed live at http://oversight.house.gov.

 
Free Trade Agreements with Panama, Colombia, and South Korea PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Grassley Press   
Friday, 14 October 2011 10:08

The topic of the day is jobs.  The question gets asked a lot: What policies can we implement to create jobs?  With more than 9 percent unemployment in this country, we should be talking about how to create jobs.

The truth is, for years we have known one clear and simple way to create jobs and stimulate growth in our economy.  It would create and support thousands of jobs, possibly even hundreds of thousands of jobs.

Of course I am talking about implementing the trade deals reached with Panama, South Korea, and Colombia that we entered into back in 2006 and 2007.  I have pushed for passage of these deals for nearly five years.

Yet, congressional Democrats and, later, President Obama, continued to put up barriers that prevented their consideration and passage.  There is no clearer and easier way of creating jobs in the near term than passing the implementing bills now before us and sending them to the President.

According to the National Association of Manufacturers, 100,000 jobs will be created by the implementation of these trade deals.  There are estimates from other sources that suggest the number of jobs created may be even higher.

The Obama administration estimates the Korea trade deal alone will create 70,000 additional jobs for the U.S. work force.

Not only do these trade deals expand opportunities for U.S. workers, but they also present tremendous opportunities for American farmers.  It is estimated the Korean deal could increase the price farmers receive for their hogs by $10 per hog

The Colombian deal will level the playing field for U.S. corn farmers so they can begin to reclaim some of the market share they lost due to high tariffs.

The agreement with Panama will bring about better opportunities for a variety of agriculture products including beef, poultry, and pork, just to name a few.

I came down to the Senate floor today to express my support for these trade deals and urge passage.  We have been waiting a long time to get to this point, and I am eager to cast my vote in support of all three deals.

But as the finish line nears on these deals, the American people should be asking why President Obama has dragged his feet on these for so long.

The President has wasted time and tax dollars with stimulus programs, which did not produce any measureable amount of jobs.  The stimulus plan failed to do what President Obama promised Americans.  Now he wants to try it again with yet another costly stimulus program.

We don’t need more government spending to create jobs; we know that doesn’t work.  Rather, we should be doing what we know works.

We need to continue opening markets for U.S. exports.  I could go into the other ways to stimulate our economy such as providing businesses with more certainty by reining in unnecessary regulations, but I will save that for another time.

We need to pass these trade deals, and we need to do it now.  American workers need them now.  But let’s not stop there.

The President can provide certainty to businesses, farmers, and workers in this way; he can renew his commitment to expanding trade opportunities.

In January 2010 the President said he wanted to double exports by 2015, which was welcome news.  But actions speak louder than words, Mr. President.  You have repeatedly delayed these trade deals, your administration has routinely dodged the question of when you will request trade promotion authority, and you have not laid out a clear strategic plan for in fact reaching the trade goal you expressed at the beginning of 2010.

We are now nearly two years further down the road.  While it may be tough to reach the goal of doubling exports by 2015, we can still push on toward that goal.  The more we do to open new markets and then get out of the way, the more it will help this struggling economy.

I have three steps to continue helping U.S. businesses, farmers, and most of all workers.  First, we pass these three trade deals now, with no more political gamesmanship by this administration.  Second, Congress passes trade promotion authority so the administration can responsibly seek out opportunities for greater market access for U.S. products.  And finally, the administration makes it a top priority to actually seek out more opportunities for opening foreign markets for U.S. products.

We live in a global economy.  We once led the way in forming trade agreements and expanding trade relationships.  But we have lost our way under the Obama administration.  We need to re-establish our position as the world leader in opening and expanding markets.  Passing these trade deals is a crucial, and long overdue, first step.

I urge my colleagues to help U.S. businesses, farmers, and workers by voting in support of the Panama, Colombia, and South Korea trade deals.

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