It’s -9 at the Dorman compound. But it could be worse. I could live in Paducah, Ky, which looks like a war zone covered in 3 inches of ice.
So the big news around these parts is the Iowa Senate’s vote yesterday to approve a bill allowing a speedy local option sales tax vote in disaster areas. It tops the front page in today’s Gazette, with backers arguing that the measure gives flooded towns a badly needed recovery tool. Republicans complained that lawmakers didn’t act fast enough, but then tried to alter the measure by offering amendments that would make the tax harder to pass, including a 60 percent requirement for passage. Strange. But they failed.
Meanwhile, the House approved a $56 million recovery package, which should clear the Senate and be on Gov. Chet Culver’s desk this week.
Culver formally presents his FY 2010 budget plan today, but already the wailing and gnashing and rending of garments has begun ahead of planned 6.5 percent cuts. The Des Moines Register says child labor laws may go unenforced, carnival rides may not be inspected and court cases will be delayed.
And, in a major development, Bill Peterson, executive director of the Iowa Association of Counties, makes the first official reference of the budget saga to the phrase “The devil is in the details.” Indeed, Mr. Peterson.
Republicans are calling for tighter budget controls.
Also, more Republican gubernatorial trial balloons are floating. Tis the season.
AP’s Mike Glover says State Auditor Dave Vaudt will decide whether he’ll run in a few months.
WHO TV’s Dave Price reports on his Price of Politics blog that ethanol executive Bruce Rastetter is preparing for a possible run.
But from the left, Bleeding Heartland is not so sure Culver is vulnerable.
And in perhaps the most heartbreaking storyof the day for me, personally, Iowa City school officials say they want to close Roosevelt Elementary School and replace it with a school four miles away. I tailgate at Roosevelt before Hawkeye games, with proceeds going to the Roosevelt parents’ association. It’s a great spot with great people and I’d miss it. But progress marches on.