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Loebsack Calls for IRS Acting Commissioner to Step Down PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Vonnie Hampel   
Monday, 20 May 2013 13:31

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Dave Loebsack released the following statement calling on Steven Miller, the Acting Commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), to step down in light of a report by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration.  The report contained new information citing “ineffective management” as a reason non-profit organizations were illegally targeted based on ideological criteria for more than 18 months.

“After the report by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, the IRS watchdog, I believe Acting Director Steven Miller must step down.  The American people expect the IRS to be wholly neutral and nonpartisan and to have a Commissioner who is capable of providing the leadership necessary to enforce that standard amongst every IRS employee.  I no longer believe Acting Commissioner Miller is viewed as such by the American people and he needs to be replaced.  If Mr. Miller will not step down on his own, I believe the President needs to dismiss him.”


Branstad signs nine bills into law; Signs Executive Order 81 PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Office of the Governor of Iowa   
Monday, 20 May 2013 13:29

(DES MOINES) – Gov. Terry E. Branstad today signed the following bills into law:

Senate File 247 an Act providing for the possession of cats classified as bengals and savannahs.

Senate File 386 an Act relating to matters under the purview of the Department of Transportation, including the use of information contained in electronic driver and nonoperator identification records, the form of motor vehicle financial liability coverage cards, motor truck registration periods, regulation of glider kit vehicles, grounds for disqualification of commercial vehicle operators, provisions for the issuance of temporary restricted licenses for persons convicted of operating while intoxicated, county issuance of driver’s licenses, and the administration of highway contracts, and including effective date provisions.

House Joint Resolution 13 a joint resolution relating to the location and exhibition of the statue of James Harlan, currently on display in the United States Capitol.

House File 355 an Act relating to driver’s licenses, including the renewal of driver’s licenses electronically and including effective date and transition provisions.

House File 471 an Act relating to parental rights, including the payment of reasonable attorney fees in juvenile court or appellate proceedings relating to a termination of parental rights petition and the awarding of visitation when a history of crimes against a minor is involved, and including effective, retroactive, and applicability date provisions.

House File 512 an Act providing for the determination of animal units which are part of confinement feeding operations, and making penalties applicable.

House File 527 an Act requiring certain aggravated misdemeanants to submit a DNA sample and including effective date provisions.

House File 566 an Act to establish requirements relating to the transfer of an interest in real estate by or on behalf of certain entities formed or organized on a profit, cooperative, or not-for-profit basis, and including warranties and a limitation on actions.

House File 627 an Act establishing a property tax exemption for fairgrounds owned by a county or a fair and including applicability provisions.


The governor also signed Executive Order 81 today, which states: 

Executive Order Number 81


WHEREAS, the Governor’s Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Advisory Council has made significant progress toward the  ambitious goal of raising student interest and achievement in STEM; and


WHEREAS, from scale-up programs, to regional hubs, to community involvement, the STEM initiative has expanded to every county in every corner of the state; and


WHEREAS, Iowa has more than 900 educators, club and faith-based leaders, and others   implementing STEM scale-up programs in the 2012-13 school year, which deliver first-rate STEM education  to students all over the state; and


WHEREAS, STEM initiatives and programs existed in Iowa prior to  formation of the Governor’s STEM Advisory Council in July 2011, but access depended on where students lived and now the STEM scale-up programs have expanded access across Iowa; and


WHEREAS, the Lieutenant Governor and I are committed to restoring Iowa’s education system to best in the nation and this goal cannot be achieved without stronger STEM education; and


WHEREAS, the Governor’s STEM Advisory Council’s priorities moving forward include establishing STEM-focused schools or classrooms to offer students more STEM opportunities, building an online best practices STEM clearinghouse, and increasing of the number of top STEM teachers; and


WHEREAS, STEM provides an important intersection among K-12 education, higher education, vocational training, job creators, job seekers and communities, and the initiative’s growth will continue to foster these important relationships; and


WHEREAS, the STEM initiative is engaging  business and community leaders, educators from early childhood through higher education, and parents as partners in this initiative to create new education and economic opportunities in Iowa; and


WHEREAS, the Iowa Constitution encourages a strong educational foundation by providing that, “[t]he General Assembly shall encourage, by all suitable means, the promotion of intellectual, scientific, moral, and agricultural improvement” (Iowa Const. art. IX, 2d, § 3); and


WHEREAS, the rapid rise of awareness and activity of the STEM initiative demonstrates its popularity and the demand for further growth; and


WHEREAS, to that end, I am expanding the Governor’s STEM Advisory Council in response to continued rapid growth.


NOW, THEREFORE, I, Terry E. Branstad, Governor of the State of Iowa, declare that science, technology, engineering and mathematics education should be strengthened as part of creating world-class schools, encouraging innovation and enhancing economic development. I hereby order the expansion of the Governor’s Science Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (“STEM”) Advisory Council.


1.      Purpose:  The Governor’s STEM Advisory Council shall advise the Governor on ways to improve STEM education, STEM innovation and STEM careers in the public and private sectors.

2.      Organization: The Council shall be composed of members appointed by the Governor. Each member will serve at the pleasure of the Governor without compensation and in an advisory capacity.  The Council shall be led by an Executive Committee.  In addition to the Executive Committee, the Governor may appoint to the Council:

    1. representatives with STEM qualifications from the following sectors, including but not limited to: advanced manufacturing, agribusiness, biotechnology, clean energy, engineering, healthcare and information technology, higher education, post-secondary training institutions, early childhood, elementary and secondary education, and vocational-technical education.
    2. additional qualifying members, including representatives of national STEM organizations as appropriate.
    3. two members of the Iowa Senate to serve as non-voting, ex-officio members, one majority party member and one minority party member.
    4. two members of the Iowa House of Representatives to serve as non-voting, ex-officio members, one majority party member and one minority party member.


The Governor’s STEM Advisory Council shall be co-chaired by the Lieutenant Governor of Iowa.  The other co-chair shall be selected by the Governor for a two-year term. After that, the Lieutenant Governor will continue as co-chair with the other co-chair position to be selected by the Governor and to rotate on a biennial basis.


The co-chairs, or the executive director with the approval of the co-chairs, may direct the Council to form subcommittees to address particular issues facing STEM education and other STEM matters in the State of Iowa. The makeup and nature of each committee shall be determined by the co-chairs.


Administrative operations of the Council shall vest with an Executive Director who will serve at the pleasure of the Council. The Executive Director and Staff shall be housed at the University of Northern Iowa, unless otherwise transferred to another location by the Governor. The Department of Education shall provide staff support to the Council, as needed, to enable the Council to fulfill its responsibilities.


  1. Executive Committee: Membership for the Governor’s Science Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Advisory Council Executive Committee may include the following members appointed by the Governor, or their respective designees:

a.      Lieutenant Governor of the State of Iowa

b.     Director of the Iowa Department of Education

c.      Director of the Iowa Partnership for Economic Progress (Iowa Economic Development Authority)

d.     Director of the Iowa Department of Workforce Development

e.      President of Iowa State University

f.      President of the University of Iowa

g.     President of the University of Northern Iowa

h.     Community college president

i.       Independent college president

j.       Two representatives of preschool, elementary or secondary education

k.     Two representatives of private employers who hire job candidates with STEM skills

l.       Any other individuals that the Governor may appoint.


The Executive Committee shall conduct business on behalf of the full Advisory Council including, but not limited to, launching initiatives, making final recommendations and scheduling meetings.

4.      Goals: The Council shall have the following objectives:

a.      collaborate with participants and parties from the public and private sectors to promote STEM education, innovation and careers statewide; and

b.     work to dramatically increase students’ interest and achievement in STEM subjects so they will have a greater opportunity to pursue STEM careers; and

c.      recommend how to better recruit and prepare teachers to teach STEM; and

d.     map STEM education to economic development with an emphasis on fostering innovation in research and entrepreneurship; and

e.      build on the outstanding work of the Iowa Mathematics and Science Education Partnership and the Iowa STEM Education Roadmap to advise on development and implementation of a statewide STEM plan with clear goals; and

f.      reach other goals and objectives as requested by the office of the Governor.



5.      Activities: The Council shall undertake the following actions:

a.      Continue creating a campaign to generate public support for STEM subjects and careers by reaching out to parents, students and others; and

b.      the Council shall report any findings or recommendations to the Governor, at the request of the Governor, and at such periods as determined by the Co-Chairs; and

c.      commission reports on issues related to STEM education, innovation and careers to promote an important public conversation about STEM issues; and

d.     recommend policy changes that will better position Iowa’s young people, educational institutions and business and industry to compete in STEM areas; and

e.      undertake other activities as requested by the office of the Governor.


All agencies, departments and boards of the State of Iowa shall cooperate fully with the Council. The Council may seek the expertise and services of individuals and entities outside its membership for research, advice and other needs, as required to accomplish its mission.  Executive Order Number 74, dated July 26, 2011, issued by Governor Terry E. Branstad, shall be rescinded because this order expands and replaces Executive Order Number 74.


















How Your IRA Can Become Your Tax Nightmare PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - General Info
Written by Ginny Grimsley   
Wednesday, 15 May 2013 11:32
Financial Expert Offers Tips to Avoid a Hefty Bill from Uncle Sam

Uncle Sam wants you! That is, he wants you to spend your Individual Retirement Account in a manner that he finds appropriate, says independent retirement advisor Gary Marriage, Jr.

“Millions of Americans have put away money into their IRA throughout their professional life, which the government encourages with tax-deferred growth throughout the working years, allowing employees to accumulate more money faster – but there’s a catch,” says Marriage, CEO of Nature Coast Financial Advisors (, which specializes in maximizing retirees’ finances. He is also responsible for Operation Veteran Aid, which benefits wartime veterans and their families.

“The government’s Required Minimum Distribution, RMDs including 401(k)s, 403(b)s or 457 plans, paint retirees and their employer-sponsored retirement plans into a corner.”

That’s because by the time retirees reach the age of 70½, RMDs require individuals to make withdrawals, which are heavily taxed, he says. Marriage explains the process further with the theoretical example of John and Mary Smith:

• Smooth sailing … at first: By age 65, the couple has saved $500,000 in their IRA, and because they have been taking no income from it, they’re averaging a 6 percent return each year. They sail along smoothly, compounding the growth in the account and earn a return of $40,147 by age 70. But halfway through that year …

• Compounded tax liability: At 70½, John’s IRA has an accumulated value of $669,113. Therefore, his RMD – the amount he’s required to withdraw – is  $24,420.  John and Mary weren’t expecting the tax bill this creates, which, in their 25 percent tax bracket, is a staggering $6,105! More upsetting to the couple, however, is that this scenario will continue for the rest of their lives.

• Down the road: Fast forward to age 90 and the total withdrawals the couple have been forced to take reaches $908,005. The total taxes owed are a staggering $227,001 – which goes straight to Uncle Sam! Worse still, when John and Mary pass away, their children will pay taxes on the remaining money – likely at a much higher tax rate.

• The solution: Rather than wait for the inevitable RMD, John and Mary can convert to a Roth IRA. This entails taking their distributions early, at age 65, even though they are not required to do so. Each year for 10 years they withdraw $67,934, pay a tax bill of $16,983 from that sum and return the balance to the account. The net effect throughout the 10-year period is a total taxable distribution of $679,340 for a total tax bill of $169,835. The good news for John and Mary, however, is that they are now done paying taxes on this account, forever. They went from taxable distributions of $1.6 million to just $679,000, thus reducing the amount they owe on taxes by almost $1 million dollars! And the money that their beneficiaries receive will be tax-free.

“This scenario considers a number of variables, all of which are different for every client we work with,” Marriage says. “As a general rule, however, the sooner you begin the conversion process, the more you stand to gain.”

About Gary Marriage

Gary Marriage, Jr. is the founder and CEO of Nature Coast Financial Advisors, which educates retirees on how to protect their assets, increase their income, and reduce their taxes. Marriage is a national speaker, delivering solutions for pre-retirees, business owners and seniors on the areas affecting their retirement and estates. He is an approved member of the National Ethics Bureau, and is featured in “America’s Top Hometown Financial Advisors 2011.” Marriage is also the founder of Operation Veteran Aid, an advocate for war-time veterans and their families.

Muscatine Woman Donates Car and Motorized Wheelchair to Homeless Veteran PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Ann Ring   
Wednesday, 15 May 2013 10:54
Rock Island, IL – Norma Rogers, 79, of Muscatine, recently donated her 1995 Cutlass Supreme and her motorized wheelchair to a veteran residing at Christian Care’s rescue mission in Rock Island. “Mom’s now in a retirement home, so she didn’t have any use for her car or the scooter anymore,” said Rogers’ daughter, Lynnette Burns of Muscatine.

“She just wanted to give them away—but she specifically wanted both to go to one veteran. That was very important to her.”

According to Burns, the car has only 105,000 miles on it and the wheelchair is only slightly used. She said it took about two months to find a veteran who could use both the car and wheelchair. “Who just gives away a car and scooter in this day and age?” asked Ernie D., the Navy veteran recipient who has been residing at Christian Care since February. “Something like this—it gives you a little perk in life. It (the donation) hasn’t caught up with me yet.”

Lynnette and her husband Brian contributed to an oil change and an antifreeze change, jumper cables, a water pump, tools, a small air compressor and a fire extinguisher for the vehicle. “Seeing us donate helps our daughters learn how to give back,” explained Lynette.

Christian Care is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization operating two facilities—a domestic violence shelter for abused women and children and a rescue mission for homeless men. It serves homeless individuals, victims of domestic violence, veterans, men and women coming out of prison, and those with mental illnesses.

Its community meal site is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner on weekdays Monday through Friday, and for breakfast and dinner on Saturday and Sunday. Breakfast is served at 6:30 a.m., lunch at 12:15 p.m., and dinner at 6:30 p.m.

Anyone in need is encouraged to call Christian Care’s crisis hotline any hour of the day at (309) 788-2273 or visit online at

Feature piece of immigrants receiving hearing exams today! PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - General Info
Written by M. McNeil   
Wednesday, 15 May 2013 10:34
Quad City Immigrants are getting their first hearing screenings this week…..thanks to Augustana students who are volunteering their time and expertise

(Rock Island, IL)   According to Augustana College Assistant Professor, Ann Perreau the screenings taking place this Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday is a win-win for all involved.  The 64 immigrants attending “English as a Second Language” classes at Church of Peace in Rock Island will receive a vital service and the Augustana students will get some experience testing hearing.

Dr. Perreau says approximately 18 student volunteers will be assisting with the hearing screening.  She says all of the students are Communication Sciences and Disorders majors, who will likely pursue careers as speech-language pathologists and audiologists. “We have a relatively new audiology program at the Augustana College Center for Speech, Language, and Hearing and we will be using several pieces of new equipment following funding we have received from local agencies over the past 1-2 years to conduct this screening”.

***The media is invited to the screenings for pictures and videos on Wednesday, May 15th at 10:00 am at the Church (1114 12th St.  Rock Island).  The students and organizers will be available for interviews***

The program is a cooperative effort among Black Hawk College, the Secretary of State, Rock Island School District, the Regional Office of Education Lights ON, Rock Island Library, and the Church of Peace.

The students are from many countries with the majority being from Myanmar (used to be called Burma), Iraq, and Africa (Burundi, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Tanzania).


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