Saturday, March 28, 2015
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Senator Grassley Talks Trade

(LeMars) -- Iowa Republican Senator Chuck Grassley spoke with KLEM news about jobs, trade, the Obama administration, and even the presidential candidates during an individual news conference held Thursday morning. 

Read more: Senator Grassley Talks Trade


Wilson Trailers Lays Off 68 Employees

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) - Wilson Trailer Co. is laying off 68 workers at its plants in Sioux City and Moberly, Mo., citing a slowdown in the national economy and bad weather in crop-producing states.

The Sioux City-based company produces livestock, grain, flatbed and gooseneck trailers. Demand fell this year in the wake of a multitude of bad weather, from flooding along the Missouri River to drought in some Midwest and southern states.

Human Resources Director John Kreber says the company hoped to avoid the layoffs, but the reductions became necessary. Employees were told of the decision at a meeting in late September. The layoffs are effective Oct. 31.

Washington -- Congress approved the Free Trade Agreements for South Korea, Columbia, and Panama last evening.  Trade officials believe Iowa agriculture will benefit from the three free trade agreements.  It is expected Iowa's agriculture exports will increase by $162 million dollars a year and will create over 1,400 new agricultural related jobs in the state.  Iowa Senators split their votes, Republican Chuck Grassley voted in favor of the free trade bills, while Democrat Tom Harkin voted against the measures.  Iowa Congressional delegation also split their votes.  Republicans King and Latham voted in favor of the free trade bills, and Boswell, Braley, and Loesback, all Democrats voted against the bills. 

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - The U.S. Department of Agriculture has approved a disaster declaration for 27 Iowa counties affected by a wild range of weather this year from floods and tornadoes to excessive heat and drought.  The USDA said Wednesday it has designated the counties as natural disaster areas due to crops losses that began on April 1. Thirty-three contiguous counties are also covered.  The designation allows farmers in the affected counties to receive assistance through federal emergency loans.  Monona and Woodbury counties are the only western Iowa counties affected by the designation.

ANKENY, Iowa (AP) - A special committee recommends increasing Iowa's gasoline tax by 8 cents to 10 cents per gallon and raising an extra $50 million from registration fees for new vehicles to pay for road repairs.  That plan could raise up to $280 million annually to fund repairs to Iowa's road system. Backers say for more money is needed but that such a funding level would let officials fix the worst roads.  The panel, named by Gov. Terry Branstad, also recommended Wednesday that gasoline taxes should be reviewed every two years.  The gasoline tax has not been increased since 1989.  The state collects 22 cents per gallon in gasoline taxes. Of that, 21 cents pays for road work. The other penny pays for cleaning leaking underground tanks.




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