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December 2009

November 2009

Reed and Miller-Meeks are busy, what about Rathje?

WHAT:  GOP primary race to face liberal Dave Loebsack, current U.S. Congressman representing Iowa's Second District.

WHO #1:  Solon native and Cedar Rapids businessman Christopher Reed officially announced his candidacy to face Dave "Pelosi Parrot" Loebshack on November 5th.  Reed is holding an event this weekend featuring Former Presidential Candidate Duncan Hunter Sr.   The Take Back the House With Christopher Reed event will be December 5th at 11:00 am. It will be at Iowa Hall, on the Kirkwood College Campus in Cedar Rapids, 6301 Kirkwood Blvd SW in Cedar Rapids.  Reed has been out and about meeting and greeting, talking issues, putting his campaign together and tapping people for campaign positions. 

WHO #2:  Ottumwa native and Opthamologist Mariannette Miller-Meeks officially kicked off her primary run today, making announcement stops in Muscatine, Marion, West Burlington and home town Ottumwa.  This is Miller-Meeks's second bid to oust Loebsack, winning the GOP nod in 2008 by defeating RINO Peter Teahen.  Like Reed, Miller-Meeks has been out and about with the people and talking issues.  She has also been conducting a series of health care forums throughout the second district.  

WHO #3:  It seems Cedar Rapids businessman Steve Rathje has a desire to hold office, but doesn't want to do the work necessary to get elected.  He made it known he was running some time ago but he has no events scheduled and the most recent activity on his campaign website is a news piece from May.  Rathje finished third in the three man 2008 GOP Senate primary and was a no-show for the only televised debate among candidates.


Conservative Health-Care Reform Proposal: Part One

MOUNT PLEASANT, IA. -- Is there a problem with health-care in America today? Of course there is! Costs continue to escalate faster than other living costs, not everyone who wants insurance coverage can get it or get it at a price they can afford, and insurance plans – both private and public – often deny coverage when people need it the most. People’s frustrations over this situation has spawned an epic battle for the future of America between those who believe in coercion, control, and central planning, and those who favor choice, competition, and consumer-driven programs. 

“The causes of these problems are prior government interventions in the market and the lack of a real free-market in health care and health insurance.  The solution is to get government to back off and allow private-sector competition to work, not to control the process even more -- to address the underlying cause, rather than just treating the symptoms,” said Dr. Don Racheter, President of Public Interest Institute in Mt. Pleasant, Iowa. 

First and foremost to improve health insurance for all Americans, change the IRS rules and court decisions which treat health-insurance provided by an employer as tax free, while plans we own as individuals are taxed.  Encourage people to buy and own their own policies tax free, and keep them as they move from place to place, job to job, so they never face exclusion for "pre-existing conditions."   This portability is at the heart of consumer-driven programs. 

Health Savings Accounts should be encouraged by the government instead of the current policies of discouraging their expansion to everyone.  Get rid of the caps and fixed limits – let the market deliver what people want and can afford, not what some bureaucrats think are “best” for others while being covered themselves by a gold-plated plan paid for by the taxpayers.

Governments at the national and state levels need to get rid of the outdated rules which prevent a person from buying or keeping an insurance policy in any of the fifty states, regardless of where they live in order for portability to work, and as an added prod to increase competition which will drive down the price of health insurance. Also, any true reform should require transparency, so people can more easily shop around. The "Doc in a Box" places and Instant-Care clinics which are starting to spring up in shopping malls and grocery stores post a list of their prices on a chart by the door. Every health-care provider should do the same. 

Will this actually work?  Well, the two areas of health care that currently are improving in quality while reducing costs are the two areas where third-party payers (either government or insurance companies) don’t get involved:  laser eye surgery and cosmetic surgery.  Let’s do more of what works, and less of what doesn’t if we want true reform.

Public Interest Institute’s INSTITUTE BRIEF, “Conservative Health-Care Reform Proposal: Part One,” is available at www.limitedgovernment.org.

For an interview or more information on this issue, contact Dr. Don Racheter, President of Public Interest Institute.


Public comment period underway for CITY STEPS draft plan

IOWA CITY, IA. -- A draft version of the CITY STEPS plan for 2011-2015 is now available for public review and comment. CITY STEPS is the comprehensive plan that the City of Iowa City uses as a guide to determine the allocation of resources for housing, employment, and services for low- to moderate-income residents. The plan is used each year to help prioritize the allocation of Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) and HOME Investment Partnership Program (HOME) funds.

The goal of the CITY STEPS plan -- and the programs and projects that are funded as a result -- is to help individuals and families achieve their highest degree of self-sufficiency. In Iowa City, low- to moderate-income households are identified as those that earn 80% or less of the area's gross median income. For a one-person household, 80% of the median income would be $42,550; for a two-person household, $48,650; for a family of four, $60,800.

The public comment period for the CITY STEPS 2011-2015 Plan runs through December 14, 2009. To view a copy of the draft plan, visit the City's website at www.icgov.org/commdev, go to the "What's New - Highlights and Project Updates" section, and click on "Draft CITY STEPS Plan Now Available for Public Comment."

The Housing and Community Development Commission (HCDC) will review the draft plan at their meeting on Thursday, December 3 at 6:30 p.m. in Meeting Room B of the Rec Center at 220 S. Gilbert Street. Next, a public hearing on the plan will be scheduled during the City Council meeting on Monday, December 14 at 7 p.m. in Emma Harvat Hall in City Hall at 410 E. Washington Street. The City Council can either make changes to the plan, or recommend it for approval at that time. The public is invited to attend these meetings.

HOW TO SUBMIT PUBLIC COMMENTS
Public comments may be made in one of four ways:

In writing:
Mail or drop off written comments to:
Department of Planning and Community Development
Attn: Tracy Hightshoe
410 E. Washington Street
Iowa City, IA 52240


E-mail:
Send e-mails to tracy-hightshoe@iowa-city.org.

Phone:
Call Tracy Hightshoe at 356.5230

In person:
Attend the HCDC meeting on December 3 or the City Council meeting on December 14 to make public comments.

For more information, contact Tracy Hightshoe at 319.356.5230 or e-mail at tracy-hightshoe@iowa-city.org

Editor's Note:  Public comments should be to tell city government to get the heck out of the housing business, they've screwed enough up already!


81% Disagree with New Mammogram Recommendation

A federal medical panel's recommendation that women can now wait until age 50 to get a routine mammogram instead of age 40 is stirring up strong debate. The latest Rasmussen Reports survey finds that 81% of adults disagree with the panel's recommendation.  Just nine percent (8%) agree with the new guideline, and another nine percent (9%) are not sure.

Mariannette Miller-Meeks announcing her campaign for Congress accompanied by Mrs. Barbara Grassley

Dr. Mariannette Miller-Meeks, the 2008 Republican nominee in Iowa’s Second Congressional District, will formally announce her candidacy Monday, Nov. 30, for her party’s 2010 nomination and a rematch against Rep. David Loebsack.

Miller-Meeks, an Ottumwa ophthalmologist, will make a series of stops in the 15-county district in eastern and southern Iowa.  She will be accompanied by Barbara Grassley, spouse of U.S. Sen. Charles Grassley.  The schedule of her “Let's Make History” tour is as follows:

11:30 a.m. -- Quality Cobbler, Muscatine Mall, 1903 Park Ave., Suite 22, Muscatine;

2:00 p.m. -- Hames Homes, 640 Marion Blvd., Marion;

4:45 p.m. -- Big River Resources, 15210 103rd St., West Burlington;

7:15 p.m. -- Al-Jon Manufacturing, Industrial Airport, 14599 Second Ave., Ottumwa.


“Read ‘Em and Weep”

By Deborah Thornton

Every card player is familiar with the phrase, “Read ‘em and weep!” proclaimed as the winning player shows his cards and takes the pot. It refers to the risks and hopes of gambling. You have no control over the cards, only the risks you take. Iowa Governor Chet Culver probably wept following recent tax reports. The cards are bad and the risk quite large.

Tax collections have been trending downward for over 12 months and the State budget is badly out of balance. The Revenue Estimating Conference (REC) officially projects the revenue number used to determine the budget in December for the fiscal year starting the next July. For FY2010, July 1, 2009-June 30, 2010 the REC estimate was done December 2008. 

The REC reviews a variety of data to make its projections. For example, the Department of Revenue produces the Iowa Leading Indicators Index (ILII) every month. This is intended to help determine the economic direction, and presumably the resulting budget bet. In September 2009 the leading indicators continued falling from a March 2008 high of 107.3 to a record low of 94.5. The ILII has been on a straight-line downward path since March 2008.

The December 2007 REC estimate for FY2009 was $6.14 billion. In April 2008, following the March 2008 ILII projection of 107.3, the REC actually increased its FY2009 estimate to $6.18 billion. In October 2008, the ILII fell to 104.43. By December it had fallen even further, to 101.85. Yet the REC dropped its estimate by only $38 million, and by another $100 million at the October and December meetings. Still not low enough as final FY2009 revenues were even lower, falling below $6 billion to $5,934 million.

The real trouble begins with FY2010 projections-the current budget. Though the ILII has been in a straight downward line, last October the REC again projected a revenue increase, this time for FY2010. Finally the REC budget projections were dropped in December, and further in March.

However, Governor Culver and the Democrat-controlled Legislature read last October’s report and stopped. They rejected all budget reduction attempts, including over $400 million Republican proposed cuts. Bolstered by enthusiasm for the federal stimulus Culver signed the largest budget in state history, including $800 million in I-Jobs borrowing. Governor Culver signed the largest budget in state history while his own REC and ILII numbers were dropping significantly. What hand was he playing?

Last month the REC reduced the FY2010 estimate even further, to $5,438 million. Culver called for a 10 percent across-the-board spending cut. But at an October 8 press conference, he said the budget already included, a “couple hundred million from the cash reserve, we’ve already drawn down a third of the cash reserves, and we’re still short.”

Based on the 94.5 September ILII, the FY2011 budget cards are bad. Not only are projections down, but home and car sales, land values, exports, and non-farm jobs are still dropping. We trust the REC will heed these numbers in its FY2011 official estimate in December.

Another gambler saying is, “Go big, or Go home.” In our family that meant you put all 50 pennies in and hoped for the best. But the Governor and Legislature are playing with millions, not pennies in a family poker game. They’re gambling with our schools, our jobs, and our future. They can not keep playing with Iowans’ money and making bad bets. They better read the cards accurately, or we’ll lose everything.

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of Public Interest Institute.  They are brought to you in the interest of a better-informed citizenry.

Deborah D. Thornton is a Research Analyst with the Public Interest Institute in Mt. Pleasant, IA. 
Web site:
www.limitedgovernment.org.


Liberals are idiots

Why do liberals - claimers of all government is good, proponents of the government must be the first and only solution to all supposed problems - seem to think that the government is some kind of Fortune 500 business with an endless stream of cash?

Such thinking is void of logic and common sense.

But that's liberal thinking for you.....

Ladies and gentlemen the city of Iowa City can't afford to properly fund basic services and public safety.  The county has made some false promises and can't properly maintain the basic services they're responsible for.  If you've been paying attention, you know that the state is out of money.  And we all know (or should) that the federal government has been deficit spending our grandchildren's earnings, with Obama quadrupling the spending of the Bush years.

Is it any coincidence that all levels of government we in Johnson County deal with are being run by liberals?

The economy is sour and what do liberals in every phase of government want to do?  Spend more of YOUR money!

That's simply illogical.

Iowa City needs another fire station, and what does Mayor Bailey propose to do?  Spend $80K on art!  What does the city council approve?  $10K on Wii consoles, $62K on a pointless survey for the downtown area,  and give a failing theatre $50K annually. 

Johnson County needs to focus more on road maintenance and what do they do?  Spend millions on mental health and build a multi-million dollar facility that isn't being fully utilized and was even suggested to house homeless people because it was unpurposed.

AAAARRRRRGGGGGHHHHHHH!

Iowa City - raising taxes instead of cutting their budget; Johnson County - spending exceeding proper budget constraints; State of Iowa - borrowing money to pay bills; Federal Government - deficit spending your grandchildren's wages.

All levels of government you currently live with have liberal leaders at the helm.....


13th Annual Shop With A Cop

Christmas The Iowa City Police Association is hosting its 13th Shop With A Cop event from 7:30 AM to 11:00 AM on Saturday, December 5th, 2009. The event is hosted by the Iowa City Wal-Mart.

After a breakfast break, children selected from the Iowa City area will be "Shopping with a Cop" using funds donated during the Association's recent fund drive. ICPD Officers volunteer their time to assist children in selecting necessity items and gifts. Following the shopping event, the children and officers return to the Iowa City Civic Center for pizza.

The Iowa City Police Association would like to take this opportunity to thank all of the individuals and businesses in Iowa City and the surrounding area who have contributed so generously to our project this year and in the past. Any persons or organizations still wishing to donate to this event should contact Officer Becki Sammons at 356-5276.  A very special thank you to Durham School Services for providing our transportation on this big day!

Wishing you a Safe and Happy Holiday Season,
The Iowa City Police Association