New House Majority Should Find Bipartisan Plans That Can Pass

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell seems to be reneging on his pledge to bring bi-partisan criminal justice reform to the floor of the Senate for a vote during the lame duck session. It is ironic that Senator Grassley is complaining about McConnell’s so well-established duplicity. Grassley, as lame-duck chairman of the Judiciary Committee, can put a hold on judicial appointments until McConnell caves in. It will be interesting to see if our esteemed Senator has the guts to play hardball with McConnell or whether, like health care and immigration reform, Grassley positions himself as a reformer, while ultimately backing […]

GOP Tax Reform: Winners And Losers

As the Republican Congress wraps up its “Tax Reform and Jobs” bill, the committee and floor debates provide a stark contrast on how the two parties see the state of the economy and the role of government. The Republicans argue that allowing “hard-working taxpayers to decide how to spend their hard-earned money is preferable to letting government bureaucrats spend your money on services you don’t need or want.” They predict that the economy will grow by 4-6% a year and that the deep cuts in what will be permanent corporate tax rates will create hundreds of thousands of new jobs […]

Tax Credits Run Amok: The Elephant In The Room

The Business Record described two projects that will receive the maximum of “brownfield” and “grayfield” Iowa Income Tax Credits. Brownfield credits are for sites that have “real or perceived environmental contamination” and Grayfield credits are for “vacant or blighted sites.” “A $40 million conversion of the 104-year-old Midland building at 206 Sixth Ave. from an office building to luxury hotel received a maximum brownfield tax credit of $400,000. Chicago-based Aparium Hotel Group plans a 140-room, full-service, four-star hotel that will include a restaurant, ballroom and meeting spaces.” The application of brownfield credits for the conversion of a downtown office building […]

Iceland’s Energy Self-Sufficiency: Others Do It, So Why Not Iowa?

My wife, Toni, and I just returned from a trip that included a tour of a geothermal plant in Iceland. It is the third largest geothermal plant in the world that uses super hot water from deep wells to drive steam turbines. It is one of seven such facilities in Iceland and generates 300 megawatts of electrical energy.  Iceland is an island country the size of England with population smaller than the Des Moines metro area.  Most of the people live within the urbanized area of the capital city, Reykjavik. Iceland is totally energy self-sufficient with 30% from geothermal plants and […]

Iowa On Another Wild Goose Chase With Tax Incentives

The State of Iowa is again chasing a major employer for more jobs using massive tax incentives.  The lure of 4,000 automobile manufacturing jobs with a new Toyota plant has Iowa Economic Development officials salivating to compete with Texas and Mississippi that could require a package costing state and local taxpayers over $500 million. At the same time, Governor Kim Reynolds and the GOP legislature are in denial that extravagant corporate giveaways have decimated government services from health care to education. It seems that every government job to provide services to our children and seniors is worthless and only jobs in the […]

Congressman David Young’s Bogus 60 Second Surveys

Each week Congressman David Young sends out a “60 Second Survey” seeking the opinion of those who read his weekly newsletters. He should be commended for seeking feedback from constituents, but virtually all of his surveys are bogus or – at best – disingenuous. Last week he stated, “If people – as many have wished – get their way and the ACA continues to remain the exact same as it was signed into law by President Obama, the health care access for tens of thousands of Iowans begins to dry up. If President Obama’s law is not changed by a single word, every single one of the […]

The Next Message: Take America Back

Guest post from Tim Urban Donald Trump captured the anxieties of middle America with the theme  MAKE AMERICAN GREAT AGAIN. America is already a great nation, but not for all Americans. President Obama and candidates Sanders and Clinton built their campaigns around minorities, immigrants, women and LGBT Americans. We assumed that these groups would outvote the shrinking White, male electorate. This divisive strategy is doomed if we continue to focus on wooing one set of Americans at the expense of others. There is much hand-ringing by progressives what message will represent our political values and appeal to all Americans, not divided […]

Donald Trump’s Jobs Lie From The Debate

During the Presidential debate, Donald Trump repeated his contention that massive job losses have been lost in Ohio and Michigan due to bad trade deals with Mexico and China. “Bigly” losses. His appeal to “working class white male voters” is premised on their displacement from work. Before the March primaries, Ohio Gov. John Kasich boasted that Ohio created 400,000 jobs in his state and would do the same for Michigan as president. The total number of jobs in Ohio actually increased by about 383,500 since Kasich took over as governor in January 2011 and Ohio added 400,700 private-sector jobs from January 2011 […]

Terry Branstad’s War On Workers

Terry Branstad joined the Tea Party with his reelection. It is apparent that his relentless effort to scale back government has a hidden agenda—not to keep public spending under control, but to move state dollars from the pockets of state workers to big business. A recent Des Moines Editorial, “Corporate Welfare Run Amok,” cited a litany of egregious examples of state tax giveaways to companies worth hundreds of millions of dollars. 186 Iowa companies received Research Activities Credits totaling over $42 million in 2015. “The vast majority of this money isn’t going to small start-ups but to larger, highly profitable […]

Blum And Young Abuse Taxpayer Money To Promote Themselves

I received a mailer from Congressman David Young with a four-page description of potential frauds and scams that Iowans should avoid. It was very informative until I noticed that it was a “Public Document. Official Business” and not a campaign mailer. Congress has availed itself of many benefits at taxpayers expense including “franking” privileges. A Des Moines Register editorial on April 24 cited Congressman Rod Blum, Iowa’s 1st District representative, for abusing this privilege: “Like all members of Congress, Blum receives a ‘representational allowance,’ and like all members, he has a great deal of discretion as to how he spends that […]