Business & Economy
Hands Off Social Security PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Rep. Dave Loebsack   
Thursday, 13 February 2014 09:33
Dear Friend,

Growing up, my family struggled to make ends meet.  My grandmother relied on Social Security survivors’ benefits to care for my siblings and me.  I know first-hand the importance of maintaining this promise of retirement security and wanted to update you on the work I am doing to protect Social Security. As the President begins to craft his budget proposal for 2015, I am urging him to keep a move to what’s known as “chained CPI” out of his plan. This move, used to calculate annual Cost of Living Adjustments (COLAs), would have a negative effect on Iowa’s seniors.  This is particularly unacceptable after several years of historically low COLAs.

No Iowan should ever retire into poverty or have to make the choice between putting food on the table and paying their bills. That’s why I have long worked to strengthen and improve Social Security to ensure that Iowans who played by the rules, paid into the system, and worked hard get their earned benefits.

I am leading the fight against a move to a “chained CPI” to calculate the yearly COLA for seniors.  This change, as you know, would cause a permanent, across the board cut to both current and future seniors and I will continue to fight against it.  Seniors did not get us into the financial situation we are in now and should not be punished for it. We must not balance the budget on the backs of the most vulnerable, and that’s why I am fighting so hard to keep the “chained CPI” out of the budget for 2015.

Sincerely,

 
Dave Loebsack
Iowa's Second District

 
Scott County Board of Supervisors to Host Economic Development Summit PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Timothy Huey   
Thursday, 13 February 2014 09:07
Featuring Keynote Presentation by Debi Durham, Iowa Economic Development Authority

(Quad Cities) – February 11, 2014 - The Scott County Board of Supervisors, with support from the Quad Cities Chamber of Commerce, will host an economic development summit on Thursday, February 13 from 9:00 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. at the Isle Conference Center, Bettendorf. The half-day event will include a luncheon with keynote speaker Debi Durham, Director, Iowa Economic Development Director.

“In order to take advantage of the opportunity to have Director Durham come and speak to us about the economic development efforts of the State of Iowa, the Scott County Board of Supervisors has invited professionals from other regional partnerships to tell their stories of successes and pitfalls to avoid.”

“The Board of Supervisors has also invited academics and professional practitioners from around Iowa that have experience with small town and rural development, to give the leaders in the smaller towns of Scott County, a chance to learn about programs and policies that have helped such communities thrive here in Iowa,” says Scott County Supervisor Carol Earnhardt.

The summit will include two concurrent tracks. Coopatition: Building Trust and Encouraging Partnership will focus on best practices to encourage regional growth and cooperation. Panelists include Ernie Goss, PhD – Creighton University Economist, Jeff Rossate – Deloitte Consulting, Mark Norman, Senior Director of Business Attraction – Greater Omaha Regional Economic Development Partnership, and Larry Burkhardt, Executive Vice President – Fox Cities Regional Partnership.

The second track, The Next Generation of Economic Development, is meant for leaders within the region’s rural communities. Speakers will discuss how to assemble the resources necessary to transform a community, the role of historic preservation, and how to cultivate and grow entrepreneurs. Panelists include David Swenson – Iowa State University Economist, Ed Raber, Director – Washington Economic Development Group, Dan Beenken, Director – UNI Small Business Development Center and Advance Iowa, and Sheila Hlas, Director and Bill Daily, Bell Plaine City Administrator and Board Member – Belle Plaine Community Development Corporation.

“This is a great opportunity for our region’s economic development leaders to gain insight and best practices from industry professionals, and to advance the dialogue about regional growth in the Quad Cities,” says Paul Rumler, Chief Economic Development Officer, Quad Cities Chamber of Commerce.

If you go:

Scott County Economic Development Summit

Thursday, February 13

9:00 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.

Isle Conference Center, Isle of Capri Hotel

1800 Isle Parkways, Bettendorf

Cost: $15, includes lunch

Register at QuadCitiesChamber.com or by calling 563.823.2676.

 
Iowa Realty Announces Historic Partnership PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Marci James   
Tuesday, 11 February 2014 15:08
In the largest deal of its kind ever done, Iowa Realty, the leader in Iowa Real Estate, has teamed up with Obeo, to offer its agents Obeo’s cutting edge marketing solutions. Obeo’s marketing technology and world class professional photography will be on every single listing marketed by Iowa Realty.

Iowa Realty agents will be able to include Obeo’s additional See You There Suite® of interactive tools on any listing. These tools include virtual staging, virtual decorating and interactive floorplans. Beginning in March, Obeo’s interactive Room Decorator will be included on every Iowa Realty listing.  Potential buyers will be able to interact with and personalize listing photos with the furniture and décor that inspires them. They’ll also be able to try out different flooring choices, paint with different color palettes and drag and drop furniture that matches their personal taste and style. Shoppers will become buyers when they are able to design a home to look the way they would live in it.

 
New Jiffy Lube® opens in Bettendorf PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Joseph Janz   
Tuesday, 11 February 2014 14:53
“Convenient car care has arrived in style with the opening of the new Jiffy Lube service center at 2777 - 18th Street in Bettendorf"

Bettendort, IA– “Jiffy Lube® is North America’s largest network of fast-lube service centers and our customers receive excellent value for their car-care dollar,” said Dan Dabizljevic, Vice President of Operations. “We are dedicated to delivering high-quality service and demonstrating to our customers that we want to be their trusted, vehicle preventative-maintenance choice for life.”

The new Bettendorf Jiffy Lube® is locally owned and operated and is the first location of the Jiffy Lube National Franchise to be open in the Quad City area. Located at 2777 18th Street, across from the Bettendorf Family Museum, Jiffy Lube® is open Monday through Friday 8am to 6pm, Saturday 8am to 5pm, and 10am to 4pm on Sundays. As with all Jiffy Lube® service centers, no appointment is necessary. While our certified technicians are servicing your vehicle, we invite you to relax in our luxurious waiting room complete with gourmet coffee, leather seating, iphone chargers, and two big screen televisions.

Jiffy Lube® technicians will expertly perform the popular Jiffy Lube® Signature Service® Oil Change, which includes changing, inspecting, checking/filling and cleaning key vehicle parts and fluids and offers drivers a quick and convenient way to maintain their vehicle. The Jiffy Lube® Signature Service® Oil Change is a convenient solution that can help drivers preserve the value and longevity of their vehicle.

Jiffy Lube® customers receive free top-offs on motor oil and vital fluids between service visits for up to 3,000 miles.

• Other preventative maintenance services available at Jiffy Lube® will include:

• Automatic transmission fluid exchange

• Fuel filter replacement / fuel system cleaning

• Light bulb replacement

• Serpentine belt replacement

• Battery cleaning & replacement

• Engine air filter & passenger cabin air filter replacement

• Radiator antifreeze/coolant replacement

• Windshield wiper replacement

• And more…

About Jiffy Lube

Jiffy Lube® pioneered the fast oil change industry more than 30 years ago, today with more than 2,000 locations in North America over 22 million customers each year rely on the brand to keep their vehicles running right. Jiffy Lube® helped define vehicle preventive maintenance by upholding the values that the company was founded upon: convenience, speed and quality service. But Jiffy Lube® understands that vehicle maintenance can be stressful. Today, Jiffy Lube® continues on the journey to help every driver be free from the anxiety of keeping their vehicle in top shape. Jiffy Lube® helps keep your vehicle running right for the long haul, so you
can Leave Worry Behind.

Contact

To learn more about this location contact Joseph Janz, Marketing Manager, 1320 - 1st Street, Rock Island, IL 61201.  Office: (309) 788-5631 • Fax: (309) 786-3946.  Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it



technicians will expertly perform the popular Jiffy Lube® Signature Service® Oil

 
"With Only $93 Billion in Profits, the Big Five Oil Companies Demand to Keep Tax Breaks" PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Business & Economy
Written by Jeremy Funk   
Tuesday, 11 February 2014 10:09

See below report from the Center for American Progress.  Reaction statement from Jeremy Funk, Comm. Director, Americans United for Change: “It’s not surprising Big Oil insists they can’t live without billions in taxpayer subsidies despite reporting $93 billion in profits. It’s not even surprising that Big Oil turns around and uses those taxpayer dollars/profits to inflate their own stock and their CEOs bonuses. With greed this out of control, the only thing that could surprise anymore is if BP or Exxon tried to declare themselves tax-exempt religious organizations.  Big Oil’s greedy behavior is so predictable that if they are successful in convincing Washington to gut the Renewable Fuel Standard and hobble their cheaper, cleaner competition  (like the ethanol industry that unlike Big Oil, don’t take subsidies), it will come as no surprise when prices go north at the pump and the nation relapses on its addiction to oil from unstable overseas regions.”

 


Report excerpt: Of course, when it comes to spending their money, the priorities of oil companies are fairly obvious. All of the companies, except for ConocoPhillips, spent a combined total of $32 billion, or nearly 40 percent of their total profits, to repurchase their own stock. (see Table 1) This increases the value of the remaining shares, providing a bounty to senior executives, boards of directors, and other large shareholders. The CEOs of these five companies had a combined compensation of $96 million in 2012, the last year for which data are available, or nearly $20 million per CEO. This is nearly 400 times greater than the $51,107 median income for a family of four during that same year. These five major oil corporations also spent $45 million on lobbying in 2013; every $1 spent on lobbying helped the companies protect $53 of their tax breaks—an outstanding rate of return.

http://www.americanprogress.org/issues/green/news/2014/02/10/83879/with-only-93-billion-in-profits-the-big-five-oil-companies-demand-to-keep-tax-breaks/

With Only $93 Billion in Profits, the Big Five Oil Companies Demand to Keep Tax Breaks

By Daniel J. Weiss and Miranda Peterson | February 10, 2014

The 2013 profit totals are in for the big five oil companies—BP, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, Exxon Mobil, and Shell. Their financial reports indicate that they earned a combined total of $93 billion last year, or $177,000 per minute. (see Table 1) After years of oil production declines, the big five oil companies actually increased their total production by 34 percent in 2013, predominately due to BP and ConocoPhillips almost doubling their total production. The companies’ higher oil production yet lower profits indicate that it is becoming more expensive to produce oil as the number of newer, easier, and cheaper fields shrink. This is why, despite their outsized earnings, the oil companies are not only fighting to keep their tax breaks but also lobbying to lift the crude oil export ban. But doing so could hurt working families, our economy, and our energy security. Instead, we need to invest in cleaner transportation alternatives.

As mindboggling as it sounds, Big Oil’s $93 billion in profits in 2013—impressive by any standard—were nonetheless a 27 percent reduction in profits compared to 2012, primarily because gasoline averaged 16 cents per gallon—or 4 percent—less. Despite the decreases, Exxon Mobil, Shell, and Chevron still had the first, seventh, and eighth, respectively, highest profits of any global public company on the 2013 Fortune 500 list. BP finished 30th, while ConocoPhillips ranked 50th, mostly because it spun off its refining business partway through 2012.

It would not be surprising if the big five oil companies use their 2013 decline in profits as another excuse to pressure Congress to retain their $2.4 billion-per-year tax breaks. The largest of these special provisions allows these companies to qualify for the “limitation on section 199 deduction attributable to oil, natural gas, or primary products,” which will cost taxpayers $14.4 billion over 10 years, according to the Congressional Joint Committee on Taxation. This tax break was enacted in 2004 and was designed to encourage manufacturing to remain in the United States rather than move overseas. It ought not apply to oil and natural gas production since the oil and gas fields cannot be moved to another nation.

The Joint Committee on Taxation found that the second-largest deduction was for “modifications of foreign tax credit rules applicable to major integrated oil companies which are dual capacity taxpayers.” This provision is worth $7.5 billion over 10 years. Seth Hanlon, former Director of Fiscal Reform at the Center for American Progress, best describes why this tax break is unwarranted:

Our tax system allows companies that do business abroad to reduce from their tax bill any income taxes paid to other governments. The rules are supposed to prevent oil companies from claiming credit for royalty payments to foreign governments. Royalties are not taxes; they are fees for the privilege of extracting natural resources.

… oil companies have been permitted to claim credits for certain payments to foreign governments, even in countries that generally impose low or no business tax (suggesting that these payments, or levies, are in fact a form of royalty). Dual capacity taxpayer rules, therefore, are a subsidy for foreign production by U.S. oil companies.

The decline in profits is also why the American Petroleum Institute, Exxon Mobil, and other oil companies are lobbying to lift the crude oil export ban, which would enable them to sell their domestic oil at the world, or Brent, price that fetched nearly $10 per barrel more than the domestic, or West Texas Intermediate, price on February 7. Lifting the ban would force the United States to import more expensive foreign oil to replace the exported domestic oil, which could raise gasoline prices. Banking giant Barclays Plc predicts that lifting the current ban could add $10 billion annually to gasoline prices paid at the pump.

If there is any good news here for American families and businesses, it is that gasoline prices, which hit a record high in 2012, were lower in 2013. This cut at the pump reduced the average household’s annual gasoline expenditures.

The fact that profits decreased in 2013 despite production increasing by 34 percent calls into question the big five companies’ reliance on finding and developing more difficult, dangerous oil fields—such as those in the Arctic Ocean. It is fairly clear that such a business model is not economically sustainable. Instead, they—and we—could benefit from greater investment in cleaner, alternative transportation technologies.

Of course, when it comes to spending their money, the priorities of oil companies are fairly obvious. All of the companies, except for ConocoPhillips, spent a combined total of $32 billion, or nearly 40 percent of their total profits, to repurchase their own stock. (see Table 1) This increases the value of the remaining shares, providing a bounty to senior executives, boards of directors, and other large shareholders. The CEOs of these five companies had a combined compensation of $96 million in 2012, the last year for which data are available, or nearly $20 million per CEO. This is nearly 400 times greater than the $51,107 median income for a family of four during that same year. These five major oil corporations also spent $45 million on lobbying in 2013; every $1 spent on lobbying helped the companies protect $53 of their tax breaks—an outstanding rate of return.

In addition to receiving unjustified tax breaks, the big five oil companies also benefit from the lack of federal limits on carbon pollution generated by oil and gas production, transportation, and refining. The Environmental Protection Agency reported that “petroleum and natural gas systems” and refiners were the second- and third-largest sources of carbon and other climate pollution among the major industrial sectors that must report their emissions. Since there are no federal limits on this pollution, American families and businesses must bear the costs of more climate pollution, such as damages from extreme weather events, heightened smog, and tropical diseases. These—and other—oil companies can dump their carbon and other climate pollution in the sky for free. And at our expense.

Despite the decline in profits in 2013, BP, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, Exxon Mobil, and Shell are some of the richest, most profitable companies in the world. They produce a valuable commodity that is essential to our economy. However, their proposal to eliminate the crude oil export ban, their battle to keep some unnecessary federal tax breaks, and their uncontrolled climate pollution all could or do impose real costs on American families. It’s up to President Barack Obama and Congress to retain and adopt policies that benefit all Americans, not just Big Oil’s bottom line.

Daniel J. Weiss is a Senior Fellow and Director of Climate Strategy at the Center for American Progress. Miranda Peterson is a Special Assistant for the Energy Opportunity team at the Center.

 
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