Business & Economy
Illinois may still bet on slot machines at horse tracks PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Illinois Revenue and Jobs Alliance   
Friday, 18 May 2012 14:54
BY KEVIN McDERMOTT

UPDATE, 1:20 p.m.: State Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka, a Republican and the state’s chief fiscal officer, came out today with a statement supporting the slots-at-the-tracks proposal, and also supporting an increase in the state's cigarette tax. She said the state’s $8.5 billion backlog of unpaid bills makes it necessary.

From the statement: “I am not inclined to support any tax or fee increases, but can back the cigarette tax provided that critical spending cuts are made and much-needed support of the horse racing industry is passed. Our biggest problem in this state is spending, and that has to be addressed. But the reality is that increased revenue also has to be a part of balancing the budget, and this compromise accomplishes that as well.”

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. • Are “slots at the tracks” back in play in Illinois?

The on-again, off-again proposal to allow Illinois horseracing tracks to host slot machines may be under discussion in state budget negotiations. Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn has been a hardcore opponent of the idea, and he still hasn’t endorsed it. But during one closed-door meeting with legislative leaders this week, he reportedly declined to reiterate his earlier entrenched opposition.

Capitol Fax, a Springfield political newsletter, reported on the meeting this morning, citing unnamed sources. We asked the Administration to knock it down, and they wouldn’t. In an emailed response, Quinn’s office called the slots proposal a “distraction”—but didn’t reiterate the flat-out opposition (and veto threat) that Quinn has previously expressed on the issue.

We asked a second time if Quinn is still completely opposed, and got the same non-answer.
“We’re hearing the same rumors,” said Tony Somone, executive director of the Illinois Harness Horsemen’s Association. “We’re cautiously optimistic.”

Fairmount Park in Collinsville is among those pushing the slots-at-the-tracks plan. It appeared headed for full passage through the Legislature last year but stalled after Quinn said he would veto it. “We have no interest in our state becoming the Las Vegas of the Midwest,” Quinn said at the time.

The state now faces another tough budget year, with unpaid bills, looming pension and Medicaid debts, and limited revenue options after having recently raised the state income tax. The slots proposal was presented as a way to rescue the struggling horseracing industry while providing a new revenue stream to the state, which would tax the slot profits.

The Legislature is scheduled to adjourn for the summer on May 31.

 
Governor Branstad’s Fuzzy Math on Iowa Job Growth Deserves Serious Scrutiny PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Matt Sinovic   
Friday, 18 May 2012 14:49

May 18, 2012

DES MOINES, IA -- Iowa Workforce Development today will release their most recent total non-farm employment statistics. Regardless of the newly announced employment figures, Governor Branstad and his administration deserve serious scrutiny for their methods in compiling and promoting Iowa jobs numbers.

At issue is the Governor’s calculating ‘gross jobs’ as opposed to ‘net jobs’ and how his administration makes those calculations. Governor Branstad promised to create 200,000 jobs in 5 years, and according to his administration, they have already created 69,700 ‘gross jobs’. According to the Des Moines Register, ‘net jobs’ have grown by just 16,500 since the end of 2010. The difference between the two is simple: Governor Branstad ignores the job losses, and doesn’t factor them in his calculcation.

“Out of work Iowans need a job -- not a Governor worried about saving his own job,” said Matt Sinovic, executive director of Progress Iowa. “With Governor Branstad’s history of cooking the books, we should not be surprised that he is skewing the figures to make up for his failed campaign promise. Iowans deserve honest leadership, and instead we’re getting falsified statistics.”

This week, local economists and media have examined the Governor’s lack of candor when accounting for Iowa job growth:

Iowa State University Economist Dave Swenson said the gross totals are not used for any official purpose that he is aware of. He borrowed a line from Lowell Junkins, a Democratic candidate for governor in 1986, to describe the situation. “When someone raises the “gross jobs” notion with me, I always say this: ‘If all I counted were my deposits into my checking account, I’d be a millionaire after awhile.  Honest accounting makes me declare, with high certainty and all sincerity, that I, on net, am merely a thousandaire,’” Swenson said. [Des Moines Register, 5/15/2012]

 

Using the gross numbers by themselves is problematic, said Peter Fisher, research director for the nonpartisan Iowa Policy Project. Using Branstad’s figures, the state could have a net loss of tens of thousands of jobs and the economy could tank, yet he could still claim progress on his job creation goal. “I can’t think of any justification of just focusing on gross job gains,” Fisher said. [Des Moines Register, 5/15/2012]


This week, Gov. Terry Branstad was grilled about Iowa’s progress toward his whopper of a campaign promise to create 200,000 jobs in five years. The governor contends he’s ahead of schedule, with nearly 70,000 jobs created. Trouble is, the governor is using “gross” instead of “net,” as in the net number of jobs created after subtracting jobs lost. Any economist will tell you that net is the thing when it comes to tracking job growth. Any first-grader will tell you 7 minus 5 is not 7. Between January 2011, when he took office, and March 2012, Iowa’s seasonally adjusted, non-farm employment has grown by a net 15,400 jobs, according to figures compiled by Iowa Workforce Development. [Cedar Rapids Gazette, 5/17/2012]


This isn’t the first time Governor Branstad has cooked the books to make his record on job growth appear more impressive than it is. Branstad has a history of inflating job growth and altering official reports for political gain:

Branstad: Lost Jobs Don’t Count Against Promise: The Des Moines Register reported in February 1984 that, “By his own count, the Republican governor said, 30,185 jobs were created last year, leaving him with 149,815 jobs still unfound. Democrats in the Legislature, however, count differently. Citing Job Service of Iowa figures, they claim Branstad closed out the year in the hole by about 17,000 jobs.”  [Des Moines Register, 2/7/1984]

 

Branstad Changed Jobs Report to Make It Appear They Created More Jobs:  The Des Moines Register reported in January 1984 that, “Iowa Development Commission Director Jack Bailey acknowledged Thursday that a commission report was altered at the request of a top aide to Gov. Terry Branstad to make it appear that the Branstad administration had brought more jobs to the state. … [Bailey] said he did not remember seeing a note from a former employee complaining that the change amounted to ‘cheating.’”  [Des Moines Register, 1/27/1984]


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Budget Votes PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Grassley Press   
Friday, 18 May 2012 14:01

Floor Statement of U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley

Budget Votes

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Mr. President,

Setting a budget for the country is one of the most basic responsibilities and fundamental functions of the Congress.  The Budget Act requires Congress to adopt a budget by April 15th.

It’s a requirement that this Senate Majority has ignored time and again.

In fact, the Senate hasn’t adopted a budget since April 29, 2009.  More than three years have passed since the Senate last adopted a budget.

During that time, more than $4 trillion has been added to our nation’s debt.  In President Obama’s presidency, we’ve added $5 trillion to the national debt.

We’re in the midst of the fourth consecutive year of trillion-dollar deficits.

All the while, the Senate Democratic Majority has failed to propose a budget blueprint that would lay out priorities for deficit reduction, economic growth or a path to balance.

It’s no wonder our nation is driving toward a fiscal cliff of deficits and debt.  There is no one in the Democratic leadership willing to take hold of the wheel.

In February, President Obama released his budget.

The President’s 2013 budget would expand the scope of government by spending more money, increase taxes on job creators, and continue on the path of enormous deficits and record debt.

While President Obama claims that his budget will create an America built to last, the only thing his budget builds are higher deficits and debt, a bigger, more intrusive government, and economic decline for future generations.

During the past 60 years, spending has averaged about 21 percent of GDP.  Over the ten-year window of President Obama’s budget, spending never gets below 22 percent.

In dollar terms, spending goes up from $3.8 trillion this year to $5.8 trillion in 2022.

It’s clear:  President Obama is built to spend.

 

President Obama’s budget is also harmful to our fragile economy because it would impose a $1.9 trillion tax increase.

Maybe the President’s purpose in imposing this huge tax increase is an effort to reduce the nation’s debt.

Unfortunately, that’s not what he has planned.  He wants to spend every dollar.

His budget runs deficits totaling $6.4 trillion over the next ten years.

Debt held by the public increases from 74.2 percent of our economy today to 76.3 percent in 2022.

Remember, the historical average since World War II is just 43 percent.

If people believe that President Obama is putting us on a path to fiscal sustainability, I’d suggest they look at the annual deficits over the next ten years.

They never drop below $575 billion, and actually go up toward the end of his budget, rising to $704 billion in 2022.

President Obama’s budget puts America on a course of deficits and debt as far as the eye can see.

The President also took a pass on proposing any real changes to our entitlement programs, which are the real driver of future deficits and debt.

Again, he’s absent from the discussion.  He has offered no solution.  He has chosen not to lead.

But, where is the leadership from the Senate Democrats?  Where is their budget?

Why have they not proposed a budget in more than three years?

The Budget Chairman has said repeatedly that we already have a budget in place for this year and next.

The Chairman and the Majority Leader feel that the Budget Control Act was a budget resolution.

The Budget Control Act is not a budget.  President Obama clearly agreed when he proposed his budget.

House Republicans and Democrats alike agreed when they voted on seven budget resolutions authored by both Republicans and Democrats.

The Democratic Leadership in the Senate stands alone in their belief that the Budget Control Act was a budget resolution.

Is it because they have no ideas on how to balance the budget, contain out of control spending, grow the economy or create jobs?

If the Democratic Majority can’t muster the will to present their own budget, why don’t they offer President Obama’s budget?

I’m sure we’ll hear the argument that the resolution our side is offering is not a fair depiction of President Obama’s budget.  That’s the rhetoric we’re likely to hear so that they can vote against it.

The fact is they’re going to vote against it for one reason – because it’s President Obama’s budget.

They don’t want to be on record voting for any budget.

That will be the most remarkable outcome of today’s exercise.

We’re going to vote on five different budget proposals.  Three are being offered by Senate Republicans, one is House Budget Chairman Ryan’s budget, and the final resolution is President Obama’s budget.

Not only have Senate Democrats failed to even propose a budget, they’ll likely vote in lockstep against each of the five budget proposals.

We’re likely to see Senate Democrats come to the floor and vote one-by-one and cast roughly 265 votes against the consideration of a budget.

Is that leadership?  Is that conviction?

They’re in the majority.  But when it comes to proposing and supporting a budget, they’re the party of “no” and obstruction.

Democrats are the party filibustering consideration of a budget blueprint.

The Budget Chairman was quoted recently as saying,

“This is the wrong time to vote in committee; this is the wrong time to vote on the floor.  I don’t think we will be prepared to vote before the election.”

How many more trillions do we need to add to the national debt before it’s time to vote on a budget resolution?

If now is not the time to lead, propose bold solutions and take action, when is?

The American people are going to pay a heavy price for the unwillingness and inability of the Senate Democratic leadership to lead and offer solutions.

Once again, the Senate Democratic leadership and President Obama are content with being absent from the discussion.

There are no solutions.  There is no leadership.  There is only failure and punting until after the next election.

We have a moral obligation to offer serious solutions for today and for future generations.

 
Braley Signs On to Bipartisan Balanced Budget Amendment PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Jeff Giertz   
Friday, 18 May 2012 13:49

Proposal requires federal spending to match federal revenue, reduces deficit

Washington, D.C. – Rep. Bruce Braley (IA-01) today announced that he has signed on to bipartisan legislation that would amend the US Constitution to require the federal government to balance its budget, so government spending cannot exceed revenue.

The proposal, known as the Business Cycle Balanced Budget Amendment (H.J. Res. 81), was written by Michigan Republican Rep. Justin Amash (MI-03).  It would base annual federal spending on the previous three years of government revenue.  In the event of a national emergency such as war or natural disaster, a two-thirds vote of Congress could exempt temporary spending for specific reasons from the limits.  The legislation also provides that the amendment be phased in over 10 years following ratification.

 

Braley said, “It’s a simple concept that would revolutionize the way our government does business.  States must balance their budgets; families must balance their checkbooks.  Why shouldn’t the federal government?

 

Braley continued, “The bipartisan balanced budget amendment I’ve signed onto today will rein in the federal deficit while ensuring America isn’t left vulnerable in a national emergency.  It’s the game-changer we need to get our fiscal house in order, protect our economic recovery, and set the stage for future prosperity.”

 

Rep. Justin Amash said, “This bill is simple, bipartisan, and common sense, and I’m proud that Bruce has joined me in this effort.  Our long-term prosperity depends on the federal government reining in debt, and that starts with balancing the budget.”

 

The Business Cycle Balanced Budget Amendment currently has 55 Democratic and Republican cosponsors.

A copy of the legislation can be downloaded at the following link: http://go.usa.gov/pxh

# # #

 
The Yard Sale Shop Now Open in Moline PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Misty Benson & Jay Nightingale   
Thursday, 17 May 2012 15:04

A not-for-profit thrift store - The Yard Sale Shop - has opened up at 3150 Avenue of the Cities in Moline. The shop is locally owned and operated, focusing on efforts to support the community and organizations that are within it.

They need your donations and your support to make this happen.  Are you done with your yard sale, cleaning out your attic, your hall closet, or just making some space?  Bring your excess treasures to The Yard Sale Shop, where all donations are greatly appreciated.

Children's and adult clothing • Winter wear to Summer wear • Furniture of all types • Household fixtures and decor • Kitchen applicances • Books • Crafts and art supplies • Toys for any age • Bedding and blankets • Electronics • Dishes and silverware • Cookwear and utensils • Jewelry and collectables • First day school supplies • "A Little Bit of Everything!"

The Yard Sale Shop is open Wednesday through Sunday from 9:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. for shopping and donation drop-off.

Thank you for helping us help the community!

Like us on Facebook!

 
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