It’s special election day here in Linn County, where voters will decide the fate of local option sales tax measures.
In Cedar Rapids, voters will decide whether to raise the sales tax by one cent to fund buyouts and repairs to flooded homes, plus a slice of property tax relief. Backers say a no vote would be a big setback to recovery efforts, while opponents say the city should tighten its belt. Polls open at 7 a.m.
I columnized today on the value of the debate leading up to this fateful moment.
Davenport voters also go to the polls today to decide whether a big slice of bucks from a local sales tax should be used for college scholarships. Davenport Promise would hand out $6 million in scholarships annually through 2018.
And while voters are voting, the economy is still sinking.
The Des Moines Register fronts dismal numbers from a survey of Iowa businesses, which shows pessimism served with a side of bleak. All indicators are down and the experts aren’t sure when improvement will arrive:
David Swenson, an economist at Iowa State University, said it could take “years, not months or quarters” before Iowa and the national economies begin rebounding. He said it took five years for Iowa’s employment to return to the levels it had reached before the 2001 recession.
“I didn’t see much to be happy about,” Swenson said. “Industry is expecting worse-than-average performance over the next six months.
“It’s more evidence that this downturn and recession is much more widespread, much more deeply felt and probably will last quite a bit longer” than projected.
Radio Iowa reports that Creighton economic guru Ernie Goss has mostly bad news for the Midwest. He’s also warning of an inflation threat next year. Still, he says Iowa is in better shape than Missouri and Minnesota.
Also in the Register, David Yepsen says the economic crisis should push politicians to drop ideological warfare and pick up practical solutions.
But in Sioux City, The Journal reports that an area psychic says the downturn is all in our heads. So what is Psychic Suzanna’s economic forecast?
“I do feel there’s going to be a backlash or an uprising (involving the economy) and entrepreneurship will flourish,” she said. “There will be abuses of the system. There’s going to be a change around May. I feel growth in Sioux City financially.”
Backlash in May. Got it.
No matter how bad things get, it’s still not bad enough for Nebraska to embrace Iowa-style gambling. The World-Herlad reports that a legislative panel there shot down a bill that would have allowed slots at horse tracks.
At least the Iowa blogscape is growing.
In mere minutes, Tomorrow, at 7 a.m., The Iowa Republican will be born, providing news for Republicans, by Republicans. One of my favorite bloggers, Krusty Konservative, is transferring his flag to the new site.
As for me, I’m going to pour myself another cup of consumer confidence.