Legislative Republicans are starting to turn up the heat on the need for a special session to address flood needs. Here’s this morning’s GOP news release:
Republican Reps. Call for Special Session to help Flood Victims
(DES MOINES)-A group of Republicans representing areas affected by the summer floods and tornadoes have today called on the governor to convene a special session of the Legislature to help the victims. The group has also unveiled several ideas that could be debated during the session.
“We’re playing a guessing game on what the governor is going to do. Our constituents need help now,” said Minority Whip Kraig Paulsen. “Reallocating funds in the time of crisis is an absolute necessity because we don’t want to pile a fiscal disaster on top of a natural disaster. Several members of the Rebuild Iowa Advisory Commission have already called for a special, we’re standing with them today.”
The group which consists of Reps. Kraig Paulsen (Hiawatha), Sandy Greiner (Keota), Tami Wiencek (Waterloo), Dawn Pettengill (Mt. Auburn), Tom Sands (Columbus Junction), Jeff Kaufmann (Wilton), Dan Rasmussen (Independence), Bill Schickel (Mason City), and Pat Grassley (New Hartford) called on the federal delegation to push the House and Senate to approve a second supplemental disaster assistance bill before congressional adjournment at the end of September. They also asked the governor to use as much Community Development Block Grant funds as possible to match FEMA dollars – as was the case in 1993.
In the meantime, a special session is needed to reallocate funds to help Iowa’s families, small businesses and local governments. Some of the reallocations include:
1) Using Iowa Values Fund money to provide grants to small businesses to keep them in the area.
2) Using Power Fund money to provide grants to local governments to restore power and heating to disaster areas.
3) Cancel construction of the new state office building in Des Moines and the new Maximum Security Prison in Fort Madison and use the funds for local infrastructure, housing, buyouts, and flood plain mitigation.
4) Cancel funding for special interest projects such as $80,000 to repair an antique organ in Clermont, and $100,000 for the multi-use fitness center in Des Moines.
5) Freeze property taxes at no more than pre-disaster levels and have the state temporarily make up the difference using the general fund ending balance or the state’s rainy day Fund.
6) Approve bonus depreciation so Iowa’s businesses are not socked with a tax increase due to not coupling with the federal tax code.
The group insists the six ideas are merely a jumping off point and that specific discussions on assisting certain areas of the state should be brought up in the near future.
“Many are falling through the cracks and not receiving help which is forcing them to dig deep into their own pockets to cover the damage. It’s time that the Legislature acts quickly to get some relief to these folks,” said Rep. Tami Wiencek.
Maybe I’m wrong, but I think this could be bad news for Democrats. Bad enough to cost them a House majority? Probably not. But it could cost them in Eastern Iowa in the long run.
Seems like a read somewhere that a lot of voters live in that part of the state.
The GOP salvo came just as Democrats lobbied for flood help here in Denver.
Also, here’s the link for this morning’s live blog from the Iowa Dem’s breakfast, featuring House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. She’s coming to tour flood damage Sept. 8.