Business & Economy
IOWA: A Glimpse off the Cliff; Heritage Has the Numbers PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Corrine Williams   
Tuesday, 04 December 2012 14:27

Ever wonder what life would look like come January if Congress and the President failed to avert the now famous “fiscal cliff?”  Remember the classic Christmas movie, “It’s a Wonderful Life?” The main character, George Bailey, is brought back from the brink by his guardian angel after a glimpse of what life would look like if he’d never been born.  A remake may be in order.  This time the plot falls in DC where Congress and the President get to see what their family, friends and many communities across the country would look like if they don’t extend the current tax rates and find meaningful spending reductions.

Would you believe a 47-year-old farmer from Des Moines, Iowa would see a $1206 tax increase next year? Economists and labor experts at The Heritage Foundation have the numbers on how your family budget and community (click here for interactive map) would be affected.

Raising taxes on any income level is a lose-lose situation for our economy.  According to the Department of Treasury figures, 1.2 million Americans who employ people are earning $250,000 or more a year and paying their taxes through the individual income tax.  They would be hit head-on. The amount that their taxes would go up could be roughly equivalent to one employee’s salary, meaning that’s one person they can’t hire in the new year. A study by Ernst and Young estimates that these tax hikes would kill 710,000 jobs.

The nation cannot afford the massive tax increases and continued levels of spending initiated under President Obama. The nation’s workers cannot afford the sustained additional upward pressure on unemployment that would follow from raising tax rates. The problem is government spending. President Obama and Congress should focus on the problem and forget these destructive tax-hike obsessions.

 
How You Can Use Kindle to Generate Free Business Leads PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Ginny Grimsley   
Monday, 03 December 2012 10:14

Imagine Amazon sending you business leads regularly and even paying you to do so. Why would they do it?

“Amazon is desperate for reading material and you can publish your content for free as Kindle books,” says V. Michael Santoro, a managing partner with John S. Rizzo of Globe On-Demand, an internet technology company. The two are also the co-authors of, "Niche Dominance: Creating Order out of your Digital Marketing Chaos," (www.NicheDominance.com).

“The twist is to use them as a generation system for sales leads.”

The audience is huge – Kindle is no longer just for people who purchase Kindle tablets. Amazon has also written Kindle Reader applications for every major smartphone, tablet, and computer including the Android phone or tablet, iPad, iPhone, Mac, Windows 8 PC or tablet, BlackBerry, and Windows Phone 7, Santoro says.

“Most businesses hesitate to use Kindle to generate sales leads because they think they need to write an actual book,” says Rizzo, “But that’s not true. You can write and publish short reports -- as long as the content is original, of high quality and does not violate its Terms of Service (TOS), Amazon will publish your material.”

The key is to include a compelling free offer with a strong call to action and a link to a lead capture page – the page on your website where people can sign up for more information, special offers, your newsletter, etc.

And Amazon will even help market your book – for free!

When a new Kindle book is approved and published, Amazon will:

• Feature it in their new releases section.

• Email their customer base announcing it to those who have previously purchased a Kindle book in that genre.

• Offer the Kindle KDP Select Program for ongoing free promotion.

• Allow customers to highlight, make notes, and share your book’s content via Twitter and other social networks.

“By enrolling in the free Kindle KDP Select Program, you give Amazon exclusivity on a renewable 90-day basis,” Santoro says. “This program allows their readers to borrow your book from the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library, and when they do, Amazon pays you a royalty, as well as for book sales. However, the real benefit is that Amazon provides five days per quarter to give your book away for free.”

Why give your Kindle book away for free?

“Because, as a lead generation system, you want as many individuals as possible to download your Kindle book and visit your lead capture page, Santoro explains. Additionally, Amazon views each book download as a vote and rewards your book with higher page ranking. The more downloads, the better the chance of an Amazon Page 1 placement.

To create your Kindle report:

• Use Amazon to determine what current Kindle books or paperbacks are published about your topic.

• Decide what information will be helpful to your potential customers. Make sure it is original and offers value. Avoid information that is easily found on the Internet.

• Create your report in Microsoft Word and include images if appropriate.

• Include your call to action – a message that prompts readers to visit your website -- and link to your website’s lead capture page.

• Create a cover graphic.

Publishing on Kindle is fairly simple:

• Go to http://kdp.amazon.com and sign up for a free Kindle account.

• Watch the “How To” Kindle publishing video.

• Fill out the Amazon Author Page to track your statistics.

• Reference the book on your website and link to your Amazon book page.

• Announce it on your Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+ and Twitter accounts.

“The goal is not to sell books, but rather to generate leads from Amazon’s huge customer base,” Rizzo says. An additional benefit is that you will differentiate yourself from the competition by being a published author. If your content is excellent and helpful, you will also build trust which will help to increase sales from these new leads.

About John S. Rizzo & V. Michael Santoro

John S. Rizzo obtained his bachelor’s degree in business administration and spent three years as a consultant for Amazon's publishing group. He has assisted several businesses with digital marketing strategy and has served in leadership positions for multiple initiatives for the Charleston, S.C., Chamber of Commerce.

V. Michael Santoro has more than 10 years in the digital marketing field. His prior experience includes international senior marketing positions in technology fields. He has a master's degree and was an adjunct professor with the computer science department of Western Connecticut State University.

 
Grassley: Action Needed to Prevent Navigation Standstill on Mississippi River PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Grassley Press   
Friday, 30 November 2012 16:04

Washington – A bipartisan group of U.S. senators representing states along the Missouri and Mississippi rivers is elevating a request for the Army Corps of Engineers to manage water levels on the Missouri River to avoid a catastrophic economic problem on the Mississippi River.

 

“Drought conditions mean very low water levels on both rivers, and there needs to be a coordinated effort to make sure navigation isn’t brought to a halt all together on the Mississippi River,” Grassley said.  “Such a major interruption in commercial activity would ultimately impact jobs in Iowa and throughout the region, and steps can be taken and need to be taken to prevent it.”

 

To avoid a potentially months-long loss of navigation on the Mississippi, senators today urged President Barack Obama to issue an emergency directive to permit additional water flows from Missouri River reservoirs to maintain navigation on the Mississippi.  They also asked for Federal Acquisition Rules to be waived to allow the Corps to expedite blasting of the rock pinnacles near Grant Tower and Thebes, Illinois.

 

In a letter to the President, the senators said, “Absent emergency action to ensure that water levels do not fall below the level needed to support the navigation channel, commercial navigation on the middle Mississippi River between St. Louis, MO, and Cairo, IL, will be severely impaired as early as mid-December.”

 

Today’s request for presidential action follows a request made by senators earlier this month of the Corps.  Senators also have asked the Corps to provide information to justify its resistance to taking action.  Governors from impacted states, representatives of industry and other stakeholders have sought action from the Corps, as well.

 

Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) signed the letter to the President along with Senators Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), Roy Blunt (R-MO), Mark Pryor (D-Ark.), Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Al Franken (D-MN), Mark Kirk (R-IL), Mary Landrieu (D-LA), David Vitter (R-LA), Claire McCaskill (D-MO), Thad Cochran (R-MS), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), John Boozman (R-Ark.), Joe Manchin (D-WV), Roger Wicker (R-MS), and Sherrod Brown (D-OH).

 

Here is the text of the letter.

 

November 28, 2012

 

President Barack Obama

The White House

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW

Washington, DC 20500

 

Dear President Obama:

 

We understand that the governors of impacted states, representatives of industry, and others have written seeking action by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to prevent an economic calamity in the center of our nation.  We write in strong support of their request.  Absent emergency action to ensure that water levels do not fall below the level needed to support the navigation channel, commercial navigation on the middle Mississippi River between St. Louis, MO, and Cairo, IL, will be severely impaired as early as mid-December.  Substantial curtailment of navigation will effectively sever the country’s inland waterway superhighway, imperil the shipment of critical cargo for domestic consumption and for export, threaten manufacturing industries and power generation, and risk thousands of related jobs in the Midwest.

 

Given the magnitude of the economic impact that would result from a potentially months-long loss of navigation on the Mississippi, we support an emergency directive to permit additional water flows from Missouri River reservoirs to maintain navigation on the Mississippi, and to waive Federal Acquisition Rules (FAR) to allow the Corps of Engineers to expedite blasting of the rock pinnacles near Grand Tower and Thebes, Illinois.  These pinnacles pose a hazard to barge navigation during periods of low water levels and their removal will allow commercial navigation on the Mississippi to continue.  Once the rocks are removed, additional water flows from the Missouri River would be unnecessary or significantly reduced.  Waiving FAR guidelines could allow the Corps to sole source for the work, eliminating the 30-day requirement for bids and allowing the work to proceed in an expedited manner.

 

The Mississippi River is an artery of commerce critical to the movement of hundreds of millions of tons of essential goods and commodities such as corn, grain, coal, petroleum, chemicals, and many other products important to the national economy.  All told, cargo valued at over $7 billion, including 300 million bushels of agricultural products and 3.8 million tons of coal, could experience shipping delays that cause ripple effects and damage local economies up and down the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers.  In addition, if shipping on the river is impeded, about five million barrels of domestically produced crude oil will not be shipped and purchases of imported crude oil will increase by about $550 million as a result.

 

Given the potentially large negative impact of this looming disaster, we hope that you will give due consideration to our request.

 

Sincerely,


 
Grassley, Udall, King, McNerney, Veterans Urge Extension of Wind Energy Incentive PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Grassley Press   
Thursday, 29 November 2012 10:07

WASHINGTON -- Senator Chuck Grassley today joined Senator Mark Udall of Colorado , Rep. Steve King of Iowa, Rep. Jerry McNerney of California, and 40 veterans – many of whom have found post-military careers in the wind-energy industry – for a news conference to urge that an extension of the production tax credit for wind energy be included in year-end legislation to continue as many as 60 expiring tax provisions.

Shannon Lehmkuhl of Estherville and Troy Ellis of Newton were among the veterans at the event on Capitol Hill.  They were participating in an Operation Free two-day fly-in to meet with members of Congress.

Click here for video of the news conference. Click here for photos of the news conference.

“The production tax credit for wind is working and should be part of the effort in Washington to help get more Americans – and more veterans – working,” Grassley said. “Certainty about tax policy and affordable energy are factors for economic growth, and as much energy as possible – both traditional and renewable – should be produced at home to create jobs and strengthen economic and national security.  There’s no reason to exacerbate the unemployment problem by letting this successful incentive lapse.”

In August, the Senate Finance Committee, with a bipartisan vote, passed an amendment authored by Grassley to extend the wind energy production tax credit.  Legislation in the House of Representatives to extend the production tax credit for wind has 118 cosponsors, both Democrats and Republicans.

Grassley authored the production tax credit for wind when it was first passed in 1992.  He has worked since then to extend the successful policy.  Udall has been a vocal proponent for the wind production tax credit, speaking nearly every day the Senate has been in session to urge his colleagues to extend the production tax credit and secure made-in-America energy and the jobs it creates.

Grassley said the production tax credit for wind is available only when wind energy is produced.  There’s no benefit for simply placing the turbine in the ground.  “It’s tax relief that rewards results,” Grassley said.  “That’s much different than failed taxpayer-funded grants and loans made since 2009.”  The senator said wind energy detractors have blurred the distinction in efforts to undercut wind as a source of clean electricity.

The wind energy production tax credit was created to try to level the playing field with coal-fired and nuclear electricity generation.  If the wind incentive is allowed to lapse on December 31, wind energy would be the only form of energy generation without any federal incentive.

Nationwide, wind-energy production supports 75,000 jobs.  In Iowa, the wind energy industry employs nearly 5,000 full-time workers, with a number of major wind manufacturing facilities.  Iowa generates 20 percent of its electricity needs from wind, and wind energy powers the equivalent of a million homes.  Almost 3,000 utility-scale turbines in Iowa generate lease payments to landowners worth $12.5 million every year.

 

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Lt. Governor Simon, Sen. Kotowski: Overhaul financial disclosure form PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Kara Beach   
Thursday, 29 November 2012 10:06

SPRINGFIELD – Longtime advocates of ethics and transparency in government, Lt. Governor Sheila Simon and State Sen. Dan Kotowski will introduce legislation on Thursday that will overhaul the Statement of Economic Interests filed annually by tens of thousands of local and state government employees and officials.

The bill designs a disclosure form that asks clear questions on sources of income, lobbyist relationships and certain loans. It also closes loopholes that allowed filers to answer “not applicable” to almost all of the questions since the form was introduced 40 years ago.

Simon said the goal of the new form is to provide Illinois residents with information that allows them to determine if elected officials, high-ranking employees and candidates hold any conflicts of interest.

“Current disclosure forms are practically meaningless and haven’t been revised since their inception 40 years ago,” Simon said. “This bill protects the privacy of public servants while allowing taxpayers to better identify where a conflict of interest may exist.”

Simon has released her personal tax return in an effort to demonstrate transparent leadership, and has asked her senior staff to file more detailed disclosure forms that allow citizens to better find any potential conflicts of interest.

 

DATE: Thursday, Nov. 29

TIME: 9:30 a.m.

PLACE: Senate Chamber entrance, Capitol Building, Springfield

 
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