Where are they now? Chris Hagenow edition

Former Iowa House Majority Leader Chris Hagenow has joined the conservative advocacy group Iowans for Tax Relief as vice president, the organization announced on November 10. In that position, he will “develop public policy solutions and strengthen relationships across the state to advance ITR’s goals of lower taxes, less government spending, and fewer onerous regulations.” Iowans for Tax Relief said Hagenow’s “new role will be an advisory one and he will not be participating in the organization’s lobbying efforts.”

Speaking to WHO Radio host Simon Conway on November 11, Hagenow said he would spend a lot of time “traveling around the state, visiting with business leaders and activists, and frankly the taxpayers and find out what’s important to them, and communicating the things we think should be done.”

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Joe Biden, Theresa Greenfield best to confront challenges facing Iowa

Mitch Henry: The first step toward getting the state and the nation back on track is electing leaders with the vision and experience to deal with the challenges we face. -promoted by Laura Belin

Iowa faces many challenges in the months and years ahead.

On the economic front, our unemployment rate is 6 percent, nearly twice what it was before the COVID-19 pandemic began. The Iowa Leading Indicators Index, a mix of economic metrics showing where our economy is headed, “strongly suggests” that the state economy will weaken through 2021.

In health care, we are moving in the wrong direction both short-term and long-term. In the short-term, our state has been unable to get a handle on the COVID crisis. Eight months into the pandemic, we continue to set records for hospitalizations and cases. Long-term, we are going to have to help the 24,000 Iowans who have lost insurance since 2016.

Then there is the climate crisis. Whether or not you believe this summer’s derecho was a direct result of climate change, all of us can agree that warming temperatures and more severe weather will have a negative impact on our state.

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Donald Trump's tax problems revisited

Richard Lindgren: “When I run the numbers, Donald Trump appears to own, to use a phrase a business colleague described him with in the 1990s Atlantic City era, a ‘zero-billion-dollar business.’” -promoted by Laura Belin

Ever since I began my own blog in January of 2018, Donald Trump’s “not-normal” finances have been in my head and have been discussed numerous times. Now that the media frenzy over his Covid diagnosis has abated somewhat, perhaps we can get back to Trump’s financial frauds. In light of the recent excellent reporting from the New York Times and others, this is a look back at what I got right and what I got wrong in some early posts about Trump’s wealth and taxes.

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The art of showing up: J.D. Scholten in Iowa's fourth district

Susan Nelson: If J.D. Scholten goes to Washington, he will carry with him thousands of stories told by rural people struggling to keep their heads above water. -promoted by Laura Belin

The conventional wisdom about the congressional race in Iowa’s fourth district is that Republican Randy Feenstra is going to win, not because he’s Randy Feenstra, but because he’s a Republican. That conventional wisdom about IA-04 was nearly proved wrong in 2018, when Democrat J.D. Scholten lost to Representative Steve King by a little more than three percentage points. The near-miss helped the Republican congressional leadership decide to defenestrate King from congressional committees because he was a little too obvious about being a white supremacist. Four conservative candidates went after him in the primary, and Feenstra won.

Is IA-04 still a rural red district where Democratic ambitions go to die, or is Scholten going to finish the job he started two years ago? Without King on the ballot, will he still attract 25,000 Republican crossover votes? We will not know the answer until at least election night, or later. But Scholten has a lot going for him.

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Politicians rearrange deck chairs as the S.S. Iowa hits COVID-19

Herb Strentz reviews recent comments from Senators Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst and Governor Kim Reynolds. -promoted by Laura Belin

Sea-going metaphors and idioms hardly reflect life in Iowa, but may be useful in considering the double whammy that’s hit us with COVID-19 and Trump.

At least that drives this take on our U.S. senators and governor during past few weeks.  As one idiom would have it, they are rearranging the deck chairs aboard Iowa’s political and virus-ridden “Titanic.”

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Iowa's state universities won't follow Trump's payroll tax deferral

Tens of thousands of employees at Iowa’s state universities will have their payroll taxes withheld as usual this fall, despite a recent executive order from President Donald Trump.

Trump moved last month to suspend payroll taxes from September 1 through December 31, 2020. Affected employees would see slightly higher paychecks for the next four months, but would have lower take-home pay from January through April 2021 as employers withhold double the amount for payroll taxes.

Josh Lehman, communications director for the Iowa Board of Regents, told Bleeding Heartland on September 9,

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