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Monday Afternoon News, January 7

State Legislature To Go Back To Work Next Monday

(Le Mars) -- In one week, Iowa legislators will return to Des Moines to start the General Session.  State Representative, Chuck Soderberg of Le Mars says he believes the legislature will look at three priorities, including a balanced budget for the next fiscal year.   Soderberg says Governor Branstad will submit his budget on day two of the legislative session, and he believes the legislature will immediately go to work on the budget.   The state legislature will have to decide what to do with a large revenue surplus.
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Calling it a recipe for disaster, Soderberg, who will assume the duties as House Appropriations Committee chairman, says he wants to make certain the budget is balanced using on-going revenue sources, and not to be tempted to balance the budget using one-time money for on-going programs.   Another priority for the legislature will be to reform education.
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Soderberg, along with State Senator Bill Anderson will hold legislative forums on Saturday, prior to the start of the general session.  Soderberg and Anderson will be at Plymouth County Energy at Merrill at 8:30 a.m., the Habitue Coffeehouse and Creperie in Le Mars at 10:00 a.m., and at the Akron Public Library at 12:00 noon.


Siouxland Officials Tour Kansas City Area Casinos

(Kansas City) --  A delegation of Siouxland officials got a first hand look at what a Penn National Hollywood gambling casino looks like on Saturday during a bus trip to Kansas and Missouri.  Nearly 40 people made the trip in which they met with city officials from Kansas City, Kansas and Riverside, Missouri, which are home to the Penn Gaming facilities.  The group included business leaders, members of the new non-profit organization partnering with Penn Gaming on their local casino proposal, elected officials from Woodbury County, and area media representatives.


Iowa Home Buyers May Be Eligible For Lower Taxes

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Some Iowa home buyers may be eligible for a program that will reduce their federal tax burden.
Gov. Terry Branstad announced Monday the state is offering a mortgage credit certificate program that will reduce federal income taxes for qualifying home buyers. The relief could be as much as
$2,000 a year for the duration of the mortgage.
The program is available to first time homebuyers, those buying in certain targeted areas and some military veterans. It is funded through federal bonds and the state expects to provide relief to about 1,000 home buyers.
A spokeswoman for the Iowa Finance Authority, which is administering the program, says this tax program has not been offered to Iowans since the mid-1990s.


Branstad Shoots Deer Buck

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A new decoration is coming to the Iowa Capitol, courtesy of Gov. Terry Branstad's latest hunting expedition.
Branstad announced Monday that he shot a buck over the weekend during his annual deer hunt.
A picture of Branstad with the slain buck is displayed on his Facebook page. The governor shot him on Saturday in Decatur County.  He says this is the third time he has shot a buck.
The governor plans to mount the deer head and hang it in a conference room in his office. His spokesman says staff believes this is the first time any game has been hung in the governor's office.

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