Business & Economy
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by HUD Public Affairs   
Thursday, 02 August 2012 07:30

WASHINGTON – U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Shaun Donovan and Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller will host a press call tomorrow announcing the latest consumer education efforts for the historic $25 billion mortgage servicing settlement. In April, a Federal District Court approved The Justice Department, The Department of Housing and Urban Development and 49 state attorneys general landmark $25 billion agreement with the nation’s five largest mortgage servicers (Ally/GMAC, Bank of America, Citi, JP Morgan Chase, and Wells Fargo) to address mortgage loan servicing and foreclosure abuses. The settlement will provide up to $25 billion in relief to borrowers and direct payments to the states and federal government. This settlement is the largest multi-state settlement since the Tobacco Settlement in 1998.

WHO:            U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan and Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller

WHAT:          Press Conference Call with HUD Secretary Donovan and Iowa Attorney General Miller Announcing Latest Consumer Education Efforts

Governor Quinn Signs Legislation Strengthening Workers’ Right to Privacy PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Nafia Khan   
Wednesday, 01 August 2012 12:36

New law makes Illinois one of the first states to prevent employers from demanding social network passwords

CHICAGO – August 1, 2012. Governor Pat Quinn today signed a new law protecting current and prospective employees’ right to privacy in the fast-growing world of social media. House Bill 3782 makes it illegal for an employer to request an employee’s or job candidate’s social network account information, such as username or password, in order to gain access to their account or profile. Illinois is the second state to enact such a law.

“Members of the workforce should not be punished for information their employers don’t legally have the right to have,” Governor Quinn said. “As use of social media continues to expand, this new law will protect workers and their right to personal privacy.”

Sponsored by Rep. La Shawn Ford (D-Chicago) and Senate Minority Leader Christine Radogno (R-Lemont), HB 3782 prevents employers from screening potential job candidates or reprimanding current employees based on information from their social network accounts that would otherwise be private. The new law protects workers’ privacy and their choice to make certain information from their social network accounts private.

“Employers certainly aren’t allowed to ask for the keys to an employee's home to nose around there, and I believe that same expectation of personal privacy and personal space should be extended to a social networking account,” said Leader Radogno, who pointed out employers are not allowed to ask employees or job applicants about age, sex, race, or sexual orientation—all information that could be easily gleaned from a social networking site. “This law will not only protect employees’ reasonable rights to privacy on the Web, but will shield employers from unexpected legal action.”

The law’s definition of social networking sites does not include email, and it does not prevent employers from obtaining information in the public domain about current or prospective employees.

“Social networking accounts are places where we document the personal and private aspects of our lives, and employers have realized they can get answers to questions they are already prohibited from asking by gaining unfettered access to our accounts,” Ford said. “This legislation may protect employers from future lawsuits as much as it protects employees and jobseekers.”

The law is effective Jan. 1.


Braley Works to Expand Support for Small Businesses PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Jeff Giertz   
Wednesday, 01 August 2012 08:16

Main Street Stabilization Act will expand small business support centers 

Washington, D.C. – Rep. Bruce Braley (IA-01) today introduced the Main Street Stabilization Act which would provide Iowa small business owners and entrepreneurs with educational tools and support to help their business thrive.

The bill would expand services offered at Iowa’s fifteen Small Business Development Centers (SBDC). SBDCs provide customized and confidential business advice to any business, or potential business, in Iowa with 500 employees or less.  SBDCs provide workshops and one-on-one consulting to educate and provide resources for small business entrepreneurs.

“Starting a small business is a challenging task that can be confusing and expensive,” said Braley. “My bill will provide additional resources and educational tools for small business owners, and those hoping to start a small business. These additional resources will educate Iowa entrepreneurs, strengthen the Iowa economy, and create jobs in Iowa.”

The Main Street Stabilization Act would create a grant program that would expand services and support available at SBDCs. This would include additional consulting and education services for small businesses, extra support for regional centers in high demand which would shorten the response time for those requesting SBDC services, and new online tools and resources for Iowa entrepreneurs.

“Providing more responsive support and resources to small businesses getting off the ground will help Iowa entrepreneurs create jobs and grow their businesses,” Braley added.

Text of the Main Street Stabilization Act can be downloaded at the following link:

A list of SBDC locations in Iowa follow:

·         Iowa State University SBDC, Ames

·         Southeastern SBDC, Burlington

·         Iowa Western SBDC, Council Bluffs

·         South Central Iowa SBDC, Creston

·         Eastern Iowa SBDC, Davenport

·         Northeast Iowa SBDC, Dubuque

·         North Central Iowa SBDC, Fort Dodge

·         University of Iowa SBDC, Iowa City

·         Kirkwood SBDC, Marion

·         North Iowa Area SBDC, Mason City

·         Indian Hills SBDC, Ottumwa

·         Northwest Iowa SBDC, Spencer

·         Western Iowa Tech SBDC, Sioux City

·         University of Northern Iowa SBDC, Waterloo

·         Mid Iowa SBDC, West Des Moines


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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.



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