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Wednesday Afternoon News, Dec. 5

Area Legislators Meet With Community Leaders

(Le Mars) -- State Representative Chuck Soderberg and State Senator Bill Anderson visited with community leaders representing the city, school, hospital, chamber, and area businesses during the Chamber of Commerce Legislative Luncheon.  The state lawmakers told the gathering of the priorities for the upcoming General Session of the state legislature.  Both lawmakers say the state budget is a major concern.  Anderson, a Republican from Pierson, says whatever takes place in Washington with regards to the budget will trickle down to the state level.  Soderberg, who will assume the role of chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, says Iowa's budget is doing o.k. but heavily dependent upon the federal government's subsidies. 

Soderberg says Iowa's budget is approximately $12 billion dollars of which half is generated from Iowa tax revenues, and the other $6 billion is funded from the federal government.  Anderson says he expects the Democratic controlled Senate to seek additional tax credits with property taxes, as opposed to any tax reform.
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Soderberg told the group that there is a good news - bad news scenerio with the state's finances.
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The area lawmakers addressed questions from the crowd that dealt with allowable growth funding for school districts, mental health levy, the state's infrastructure including the proposed hike in gasoline tax, tax incremental financing or TIF, and deregulation.

 

Le Mars Mainstreet Seeks Resolution For Blight Grant

(Le Mars) -- The Le Mars Mainstreet Organization and the Le Mars Historical Preservation Commission appeared before the city council on Tuesday to request permission to seek a resolution for a grant of $500,000 for the use of blight funding.  Mary Reynolds appeared before the city council and explains the program.
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Reynolds says blight usually conjures up negative images of old, run-down buildings.  But she says it doesn't necessarially mean a poor image.
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Reynolds explains the downtown district is being considered.

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Building owners will want to attend an informational meeting scheduled for December 11th at the city council chambers to learn more about the project.

 

Noted Animal Scientist Speaks At IFBF Convention

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Animal scientist Temple Grandin has criticized legislation that restricts or bans underground videos in feedlots and confinements.
The animal rights authority told the Iowa Farm Bureau Wednesday that
laws with such rules are "the dumbest thing."
Gradin praised beef trimmings, or so-called "pink slime" as a good product. She says its production
should never have been suspended.
Grandin also spoke against sow gestation crates, a method of enclosure used in pig farming. It's a controversial issue between hog producers and animal rights activists.
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Harkin Says He Wants His Name Removed If Iowa State Doesn't Change Policies

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin is threatening to end his association with a namesake policy institute at Iowa State University if the school president does not remove restrictions on
its ability to research agriculture.
Harkin suggests in a statement obtained Tuesday by the Des Moines Register (http://dmreg.co/Vk45JQ) that he may not donate his papers to the Harkin Institute of Public Policy because he -- quote -- "simply cannot be part of any arrangement that restricts full
and unfettered academic freedom at this institute."
Harkin and the institute's advisory board are objecting to a memo issued by ISU President Steven Leath that says the institute generally cannot research agricultural subjects without approval from ISU's Center for Agriculture and Rural Development.
Leath says he wants to avoid duplication and maintain the center's prominence.
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