Monday Reads — Could Be Worse

It’s hard not to optimistic when it’s going to be nearly 70 degrees today.

Maybe that’s why The Gazette tops its front page this morning with news that Iowa is faring better than most states when it comes to weathering the recession. Dave DeWitte assembles several experts who say the recession hit the state later and with less ferocity than elsewhere. We didn’t have a huge housing bubble to bust, banks are pretty healthy here and unemployment is still relatively low.

That’s what passes for good news these days. Meanwhile, state lawmakers are waitingfor what could be some bad news Friday when the Revenue Estimating Conference holds its fateful meeting to decide just how far tax collections will slide next fiscal year. Democrats who run the Legislature are hoping that the additional $130 million they cut from Gov. Chet Culver’s budget plan will be enough. They’d like to wrap up and go home early, but a gloomier-than-expected revenue forecast could complicate things.

The state’s recovery from last year’s natural disasters is already plenty complicated, and will take time, according to Maj. Gen. Ron Dardis, Gov. Culver’s master of disasters. In an interview with The Des Moines Register, Dardis said recovery is going to take years and huge problems remain. Not exactly ground-breaking stuff.

And the economy is evidently driving Nebraskans to stop drinking, according to the Omaha World-Herald. Alcohol consumption has dropped three of the last six months.

State officials are worried  that once residents sober up and realize they’re in Nebraska, there may be a mass exodus that will clog outbound interstates.  OK, I made that last part up.

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