Friday, March 13, 2009

Governor Releases Details of Bonding Plan

Yesterday, Governor Culver announced his plans for a new program he's calling I-jobs. He wants the state to bond for $750 million and says that will create 30,000 jobs in Iowa through the projects it goes toward. Just doing the simple math, that $750 million would be eaten up by paying the salaries of those 30,000 jobs. It breaks down to $25,000 per person salary. That's before anything even goes toward the actual projects.
The other night, the Senate debated a bonding bill. It passed along party lines and was for $175 million for 20 years. Here's a poignant quote from that debate spoken by the Senate Majority Leader to all Senate Republicans:

“As our unemployment rate climbs in the state of Iowa, your ‘no’ vote tonight is a ‘no’ to 5,000 jobs in this state. I can’t believe Republicans are ‘no’ to jobs, ‘no’ to veterans and ‘no’ to being tough on crime. Unbelievable." - Sen. Michael Gronstal D-Council Bluffs.
Since we keep our calculator handy, we broke down those 5000 jobs from this bonding bill to equal salaries of $35,000 - again, not even touching the projects themselves. Seeing 5000 jobs come to Iowa would be great, but is it realistic? Maybe, maybe not. (And since when is anybody pro-crime?)
And should the state bond simply because it can? Bond now and let our kids and grandkids pay for it later? Passing the buck will get us nowhere.

Seen around the Capitol this week:

Senator Johnson talks to UNI research students

Senator Tim Kapucian talks to regional 4-H clubs.

Panora Middle School students and Senator Nancy Boettger

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Quote of the Day

"This (raising student achievement) is not relevant to the issue at hand- we're just talking about the process for paying teachers."- Becky Schmitz (D- Fairfield), Chair of the Senate Education Committee in regards to a question posed by Senator Paul McKinley (R- Chariton) about how SF 314, legislation dealing with teacher pay, would help raise student achievement in Iowa.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Retirees and Your Community

Yesterday, Senate File 291 passed and is on it’s way to the House. The bill calls for the Department of Elder Affairs to create a "certified retirement community" program that would encourage retirees to make their home in Iowa. The program is also supposed to aid in rural economic development. There are no costs associated with the bill unless a community pays for the certification.

Yesterday this was our quote of the day and it is worth repeating: “If a community can attract a retired person, that is the equivalent of attracting three-and-a-half manufacturing jobs to that community.” Senator Daryl Beall, D-Fort Dodge. Since when do retired citizens equate to any manufacturing jobs? Retirees don’t work – that’s what retirement is!

The buzz lately has been creating an environment conducive to job creation in any Iowa community. Sounds great, everyone wants to work right about now and wants thriving businesses in their communities. With the Iowa House talking about debating Dr. Shopping, Prevailing Wage and repealing Right to Work, maybe we should focus on those bills and making sure they die since they’ll all squelch that job creation environment.

We’ve been hearing some strong opinions from our loyal cyber fans about this bill and how ridiculous it is. To be fair, the bill passed unanimously, but it is a Democrat-sponsored bill that, in the Democrat-controlled Iowa Senate, is viewed as economic development. This is a real stretch and nowhere in the bill does it say anything about getting people to work by creating an atmosphere that would encourage job growth. But hey, if your city hall needs another piece of paper to put on the wall they can get it.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Things Are Starting to Happen

A lot of different things are buzzing around Iowa right now. It started Friday with Governor Culver announcing that he would veto any gas tax that came to his desk and it's continuing as Matt Strawn, Iowa GOP Chairman, travels the state talking about all the bad bills circulating in the statehouse right now. And major props to Strawn because the DM Register wrote a positive article about how Iowa Republicans are moving up in the world thanks to the use of technology.

Around the Capitol today:

Senator Johnson with UNI students during Research Day.

And quote of the day: “If a community can attract a retired person, that is the equivalent of attracting three-and-a-half manufacturing jobs to that community.” Senator Daryl Beall, D-Fort Dodge, after a Senate bill passed unanimously to make communities "certified retirement communities" if they apply for that designation.