Wednesday News, April 10, 2013
Independent Study Rates The Proposed Casinos
(Sioux City) -- An independent study rates the four proposals for a new land based casino in Woodbury County. Wells Gaming research of Reno, Nevada conducted the study.
The Wells gaming study indicates Hard Rock Casino and the Hollywood Casino near Port Neal would have the best major highway access and that their parent companies, Warner Gaming and Penn Gaming, have the most experienced casino management.
The Warrior would have the most limited ability for access and expansion, while the Hollywood Port Neal casino would have the most room for unrestricted development.
The study gives the Hard Rock Casino an edge over the Warrior with community benefit from the use of tax increment financing. Hard Rock and Warrior rank 1 and 2 in estimated revenue generated, gaming taxes paid, and contributions to their qualified sponsor organizations.
Wells Gaming also surveyed 719 Woodbury County voters, 71 percent of whom reside in Sioux City. 69 percent of those surveyed prefer the casino to be located downtown, with 55 percent favoring Hard Rock, 27 percent the Warrior and 13 percent the Hollywood Casino. The study has been forwarded to the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission.
Wells Gaming research has previously conducted market studies in Waterloo, Davenport, Emmetsburg, Bettendorf, Ottumwa and Spencer.
Spring Storm Delays Schools, Creates Power Outages
(Le Mars) -- Most roads in northwest Iowa are either wet or ice covered, making for slick conditions. The Plymouth County Sheriff's Department reports that at least five vehicles slid into the ditch as a result of the hail and ice that fell yesterday afternoon and evening. Iowa State Patrol trooper Vince Kurtz says to use caution when traveling on the ice. Iowa Rural Electric Cooperative is reporting several customers in Lyon, Osceola, Cherokee, Buena Vista, Clay, Dickinson, Emmet, and Palo Alto counties are without power. MidAmerican Energy reports of some power outages in Sioux City and Fort Dodge.
Supervisors Approve L.O.S.T. Allocations
(Le Mars) -- The Plymouth County Board of Supervisors approved the funding of 23 requests as recommended by the Local Option Sales Tax advisory Board. A total of 43 applications were received. The amount of money allocated for the next fiscal year will amount to $200,000 of the $466,833 requested. Those entities and organizations to receive funding include the Plymouth County Sheriff's Department, the Le Mars, Oyens, and Merrill Fire Departments, the Council on Sexual Abuse and Domestic Violence, Plymouth County Historical Museum, Plains Area Mental Health, and Plymouth County Emergency Medical Services, Perry Board of Trustees, Siouxland Paramedics, City of Remsen, Akron Park and Recreation Board, Plymouth County Senior Helpmates, Gehlen Catholic Schools, City of Merrill, Plymouth County 4-H and Agricultural Society (fairboard), Friends of the Le Mars Public Library, Remsen St. Mary's High School, Le Mars YMCA, Floyd Valley Hospital, Remsen Heritage Museum, and the Oyens Veterans Memorial.
Regents To Meet With University Professors
IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) - Accused of disrespecting academic freedom, the top two members of the Board of Regents will meet with a University of Iowa group dedicated to defending that principle.
The university's chapter of the American Association of University Professors says President Craig Lang and President Pro Tem Bruce Rastetter will address its meeting Saturday.
Lang's service on the board will end April 30 after the Democratic-controlled Senate declined Monday to confirm him for another term.
Democrats have accused Lang and Rastetter of not respecting faculty independence. They say the two tried to limit the research that could be conducted at an Iowa State University center honoring
Sen. Tom Harkin, which they deny.
Rastetter has faced criticism for intervening on behalf of an ethanol lobbyist after a researcher was critical of the industry.
Senate Approves Required Pre-school Attendance
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The Iowa Senate has approved legislation that would require children enrolled in the state's voluntary preschool program to attend regularly.
The Senate passed the bill 32 to 17 on Tuesday. It earlier passed the House and now moves to Gov. Terry Branstad.
The measure would allow school districts to require that children enrolled in preschool attend regularly.
Bill sponsor Sen. Mary Jo Wilhelm, a Democrat from Cresco, says without the legislation there's no reason for parents to talk with educators about why their children aren't attending.
Lawmakers note that there are waiting lists for preschool in many districts.
Republican Sen. Joni Ernst of Red Oak voted against the bill, saying she's worried the measure could eventually lead to mandatory preschool. She says that should remain a choice left to parents.
Feenstra Introduces Tax Relief Bill
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A Republican state senator is proposing legislation that would reduce income tax rates in Iowa.
Sen. Randy Feenstra, of Hull, on Monday introduced a bill that would gradually reduce income tax rates for taxpayers by at least 5 percent.
Under his plan, taxpayers could eventually realize a total 15 percent reduction if they opted into a new tax system with changes like fewer rates and no deduction on state taxes for federal taxes
paid. Those who didn't want to participate in the new system could get a 5 percent rate reduction and stay in the current system.
Feenstra says the plan would reduce state revenue by $623 million over five years.
The bill has little chance of advancing in the Democratic-majority Senate.