Business & Economy
USDA Announces Projects to Create Jobs and Strengthen Economic Development Across Rural Iowa PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by USDA Communications   
Tuesday, 31 July 2012 12:22

CLARINDA, Iowa – July 31, 2012 – Agriculture Deputy Under Secretary for Rural Development Doug O'Brien today announced the selection of projects in Iowa for loans and grants that will support job creation efforts, business development and strengthen economic growth in rural communities across the state.

"We are pleased to be helping with efforts around the state that will strengthen the economy, create jobs, support business growth and expand opportunity for rural Iowans," O'Brien said. "The Obama Administration is committed to ensuring that rural communities are economically vibrant and successful in their business-development and job-creation efforts."

Funding is being provided through USDA's Rural Economic Development Loan and Grant program (REDLG), which provides zero-interest loans to local utilities which they, in turn, pass through to local businesses (ultimate recipients) for projects that will create and retain employment in rural areas.

With today's announcement, USDA is investing nearly $2.5 million to spur economic growth. The following is a list of rural utilities in Iowa that will receive funding, which is contingent upon the recipient meeting the terms of the loan or grant agreement.

  • Eastern Iowa Light & Power Cooperative – $298,000 loan. Funding will be used to purchase land that a local community development corporation will develop as an industrial park.
  • Orange City Municipal Electric Utility -- $1,000,000 loan. Funds will be used to provide loans to rural utilities program borrowers to provide economic development. This project will provide a loan to Tec Industries, LLC dba Quatro Composites to be used for the purchase of machinery and equipment. This project is expected to create 144 new jobs.
  • Rock Rapids Municipal Utilities -- $300,000 grant. Funds will be used to provide grants to rural utilities program borrowers to provide economic development. This project provides support to Rock Rapids Municipal Utilities who will add $60,000 match to create a $360,000 revolving loan fund. The revolving loan fund will make a loan to Rock Rapids Area Development Foundation which will construct a new building in Rock Rapids. This project is expected to create up to 20 jobs.
  • Harrison County Rural Electric Cooperative – $344,000 loan. Funding will be used to construct a 10,000-square-foot central warehouse facility for Grato Holdings, Inc. The new warehouse will consolidate the company's operations.
  • Central Iowa Power Cooperative – $300,000 grant. Funds will be used to purchase land that a local community development corporation will develop as an industrial park.

O'Brien made the announcement during a two-day tour in Iowa. The trip began with a groundbreaking ceremony at Manning Regional Healthcare Center in Manning, Iowa. USDA Rural Development is providing a $21 million loan to assist with construction of the hospital. Following the ceremony, O'Brien toured the new Clarinda Regional Health Center in Clarinda, Iowa. The health center recently received an $18.9 million USDA loan to help with construction costs.

USDA Rural Development's funding continues to have a dramatic impact on rural communities across Iowa. Since 2009, the agency has invested nearly $2 billion in essential public facilities, small and emerging businesses, water and sewer systems, and housing opportunities to help Iowa families and communities build a better future.

"Under President Obama's leadership, USDA has carried out these investments, helping our rural communities and sectors which impact the rural economy," O'Brien added. "In turn, this has supported the rural way of life that stands as the backbone of our American values. It has empowered rural America to continue leading the way, strengthening America's economy, and strengthening small towns and rural communities."

President Obama's plan for rural America has brought about historic investment and resulted in stronger rural communities. Under the President's leadership, these investments in housing, community facilities, businesses and infrastructure have empowered rural America to continue leading the way – strengthening America's economy and strengthening small towns and rural communities. USDA's investments in rural communities support the rural way of life that stands as the backbone of our American values. President Obama and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack are committed to a smarter use of Federal resources to foster sustainable economic prosperity and ensure the government is a strong partner for businesses, entrepreneurs and working families in rural communities.

USDA, through its Rural Development mission area, has an active portfolio of more than $170 billion in loans and loan guarantees. These programs are designed to improve the economic stability of rural communities, businesses, residents, farmers and ranchers and improve the quality of life in rural America.


USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer. To file a complaint of discrimination, write: USDA, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, Office of Adjudication, 1400 Independence Ave., SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call (866) 632-9992 (Toll-free Customer Service), (800) 877-8339 (Local or Federal relay), (866) 377-8642 (Relay voice users).


Loebsack Praises Action to Support Domestic Wind Tower Jobs PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Joe Hand   
Tuesday, 31 July 2012 12:13

Decision cracks down on illegally traded foreign wind towers

Washington, D.C – Congressman Dave Loebsack released the following statement today after the U.S. Department of Commerce announced in a preliminary decision that it would place “anti-dumping” tariffs on utility scale wind towers made in China and Vietnam and sold in the United States.  Earlier this month, Loebsack urged the Department of Commerce to take this action, which would put wind towers manufactured in the United States on equal footing as illegally subsidized towers produced by Chinese and Vietnamese companies that push Iowa and American-made towers out of the US market.

“Iowa’s wind tower industry creates good jobs and boosts economic development in our towns and rural communities.  Iowa workers are second to none and have shown time and again that they can outcompete the global competition.  However, they must be able to compete on a level playing field.  I pushed for this action because illegally subsided foreign wind towers cannot be allowed to hurt Iowa jobs and undercut American companies by pushing homemade products out of our own market.  I am pleased the Department of Commerce took these steps to ensure the hardworking men and women making these towers here in Iowa can compete on equal footing.”

Earlier this year, Loebsack was an original cosponsor of bipartisan legislation that was signed into law, which ensured that all tools are available to stop illegally subsidized foreign products from pushing American-made products out of our own market, including countervailing duties and anti-dumping duties, such as those imposed by Friday’s Department of Commerce action.

Earlier this summer, Loebsack urged the Department of Commerce to support the petition filed by the Wind Tower Trade Coalition, which includes Trinity Structural Towers, with the Department of Commerce and the US International Trade Commission regarding illegal trade activities by Chinese and Vietnamese utility scale wind tower manufacturers.  In response, on Friday, the Department of Commerce announced a preliminary decision to place anti-dumping duties from 20.85 percent to 72.69 percent on Chinese-made utility-scale wind towers and 52.67 percent and 59.91 percent on Vietnamese-made utility scale wind towers.  A final decision is expected later this year.



Happy Joe's Gears Up For 40th Anniversary PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Kristel Ersan   
Tuesday, 31 July 2012 11:46

Loebsack, Schilling on Thomson: “We will continue working in a bipartisan fashion to bring these jobs to our region” PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Joe Hand   
Tuesday, 31 July 2012 10:53

Washington, D.C. - Following several developments today, Congressmen Dave Loebsack (IA-02) and Congressman Bobby Schilling (IL-17) issued the following joint statement:

“As everyone knows well, this isn’t a new issue – it’s been around for 10 years.  Neither Republicans nor Democrats were able to solve it when they held both the White House and Congress.

“Unfortunately, today's developments do nothing to move Thomson closer to opening.  Chairman Wolf’s action today is a disappointing setback.  Yet again, decisions affecting the opening of the prison are taking place in Washington and completely removed from the economic realities in Illinois and Iowa and our constituents’ needs for good jobs.

“This is just more of the typical Washington DC, business as usual political blame game.  We are working together to find whatever avenue we can to get the job done for our region.

“No one says it will be easy; there are many hurdles to overcome on both sides of the aisle, in both chambers of Congress, and at both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue.  But the bottom line is we will continue to work together to reach across the divide, find a solution, and bring these jobs to our region.”


“Education Tax Incentives and Tax Reform” PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Grassley Press   
Wednesday, 25 July 2012 13:23

Statement of Sen. Chuck Grassley

Committee on Finance Hearing, “Education Tax Incentives and Tax Reform”

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

As we consider how tax incentives help students and families pay for college, we should consider whether and how these incentives also increase costs.  A 2010 study by Nicholas Turner at the University of California-San Diego suggests that schools are reducing financial aid awards by the amount of tax benefits a student or family may receive.

In addition, a 2011 article in the Washington Monthly by Benjamin Ginsberg exposes the explosion in spending on administrators and support staff that are not directly involved in instruction or research. Such spending includes hefty increases in executive compensation and benefits.

Aside from getting a handle on rising costs and tax incentives for students and families, it is also important to consider the tax benefits that tax-exempt college and universities receive.

Just like tax-exempt hospitals, tax-exempt colleges and universities are exempt from income tax.  They also have the ability to raise capital through tax-deductible charitable contributions and the issuance of tax-exempt bonds.

The Joint Committee on Taxation, in the document prepared for today’s hearing, indicates that the most expensive Federal tax expenditure for education is the charitable deduction at more than $32 billion. The tax exemption for bonds is the third most expensive at more than $18 billion.

The charitable deduction for sure fuels the growth in multi-billion dollar in college and university endowment funds.  According to the most recent annual NACUBO-Commonfund endowment study, endowments with more than $1 billion in assets had a one-year rate of return of more than 20% and a ten-year rate of return of almost 7%.

So, even though they had a couple of rough years in 2007 and 2008, they are still doing great.  Yet, despite their success and skyrocketing tuition, their payout rate hovers around 5%.

Part of their success results from their investment strategies. The same endowment study tells us that these endowments with more than $1 billion are sixty percent invested in “alternative strategies.”

Such investments include private equity, international private equity, mergers and acquisition funds, hedge funds, derivatives and energy and natural resources, including oil, gas, timber and commodities.

Aside from their lack of spending on students, it’s unclear whether such investments may also be contributing to the erosion of the tax base by sheltering otherwise taxable, commercial activity in tax-exempt entities.  Commodity speculation is another issue that has been of concern to both me and Senator Wyden.

When it comes to tax-exempt bonds, it seems that the ease of borrowing is causing a race to spend without considering whether such spending adds to a student’s learning.

In a May 1, 2012, CNBC report, the Dean of Admissions at Pomona College suggests a $53 million investment in student housing is important because students are not making choices based on whether they are going to get a good education.  The same report highlights other California colleges offering perks such as dorm rooms with ocean front views and cafeterias with gourmet food.

In addition, an April 30, 2010, Congressional Budget Office study suggests that colleges and universities may benefit from indirect tax arbitrage by using tax-exempt bonds to fund building and equipment while hoarding money to invest in the assets I just mentioned that provide a higher rate of return.

Bottom line – the incentives for students and families are not the only ones that should be reviewed in the context of tax reform.  All education related tax expenditures should be examined to ensure that students and families, in addition to taxpayers, are getting the most bang for their buck.


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