The legislative session begins this week, and budget issues are likely to dominate the proceedings.
Some state tax credits will be scrapped and others curtailed if lawmakers enact recommendations released on Friday by a commission Governor Chet Culver appointed. State Senator Joe Bolkcom, who chairs the Ways and Means Committee in the upper chamber, has vowed to pass as many of the recommendations as possible. I expect major pushback from corporate lobbyists against many of the proposals, however.
House Speaker Pat Murphy is not ruling out significant layoffs of state workers. It really is unfair to balance the budget mostly on the backs of state workers, especially since demand for state services increases during a recession.
I was surprised to see Culver's chief of staff, John Frew, suggest a scaled-back version of "fair share" legislation could pass this session. If Democrats don't have the votes for a prevailing wage bill, I can't imagine they'll get 51 votes for fair share, but I hope I'm wrong.
Kathie Obradovich previews other issues that are likely to come up during the legislative session.
Democratic leaders insist a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage is off the table, but Republicans will use every trick in the book to try to bring the issue to the floor.
Roxanne Conlin plans to visit all 99 counties in her Senate campaign, just like Senator Chuck Grassley has been doing every year for the past three decades.
In other news, Iowa may be on the verge of coming out of the deep freeze. I read today that the highest temperature recorded anywhere in Iowa since January 1 was 20 degrees Fahrenheit one day in Keokuk (southeast corner of the state). How are you surviving the cold? I've been wearing slippers, wool sweaters and extra layers. My kids still insist they are comfortable running around the house in pajamas and bare feet. Our dog could walk for miles, even on the days when it's been below zero F when I'm out with him.
This thread is for anything on your mind this weekend.