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Keeping Watch at the Library

By Steve Wilson | Feb 06, 2012

Mt. Pleasant Public Library — I stopped by to listen to the democratic candidates for State Senator for our district (the 46th) introduce themselves and participate in a forum Saturday at the Mt. Pleasant Public Library. As a registered Independent I considered it to be my place to sit quietly and listen. I was impressed by all three of the gentlemen and I look forward to sharing and hearing more from each of them. 

Several of those in attendance to include the mayor of Fort Madison, Steve Ireland, who is running for Senator Fraise’s seat, thought Dave Helman should run again - for Henry County Supervisor that is. Ireland noted that in his life he had lost several times before winning and he encouraged Dave to try again. Dave figures, why take another beating for the hopeless cause of One Democrat in the Courthouse?

For me it is like running against the one party system in some other countries and I think it should be done for many of the same reasons. So if You see Dave tell him we need him as a Supervisor in the Henry County Court House (unless You are ready to run). In everything Dave does You can be sure of getting his best.  

Steve Wilson

Comments (6)
Posted by: Steve Wilson | Feb 06, 2012 20:17

Commercial Property Taxes in Iowa.

At first all three candidates seemed to support rolling back property taxes on commercial property. This surprised me.

“One of the reasons that cities, schools and counties are worried about the governor's property tax plan is that it would take a bite out of their revenues. Branstad has said his plan would replace revenues lost to local governments. But many local officials don't believe that will pan out. And, already, the Iowa State Association of Counties says the governor's reimbursement plan falls short.”

Read more:

The Henry County Auditor fears that rolling back commercial rates would require increases in other areas that would create additional hardships on the people of Henry County.  

“There is no doubt we would have to raise taxes (in the event of a commercial tax rollback). Then, we are shifting the burden from those (commercial property taxpayers) who probably can afford them to those who are just scraping by.”

As the forum progressed it was comforting to hear Mr. Taylor propose some limits and conditions to any reduction. One of the conditions mentioned was the requirement that companies eligible for a tax reduction must pay their employees a livable wage. I would agree that we do not want to give tax breaks to companies whose full time employees are generally eligible for food stamps.  So what companies in Henry County are failing to pay a living wage by the measure of food stamp eligibility? Before we cut commercial property taxes in Iowa I think one of the things we should know is how wages and the over all cost of living in Iowa and Henry County stacks up against surrounding states.

One way or the other the tax revenue must be made up somewhere. On the richer or on the poorer.


Posted by: Steve Wilson | Feb 06, 2012 20:33

Gay Marriage

I was surprised when all three democratic candidates vying for Eugene Fraise's seat as the Iowa State Senator from the 46th District came out supporting gay marriage. Historically Senator Fraise recognized the value of civil contracts but stopped short of giving a carte blanche endorsement to gay marriage. I agree with his position and here is why.

Identical twins studies indicate that homosexuality is not merely a matter of genetic determination or even genetic predisposition.  Both sexual orientation and sexual expression are influenced by the context within which a person grows up. As I was growing up (it never ends)it became obvious to me that sexual expression is all about making choices. Marriage exists because we recognize that people make choices and that some choices serve the interest of the community and its members better than others.

The wedding ceremony celebrates the creation of an exclusive relationship between one man and one woman. The loving tenacity of this relationship is the foundation of family, church and community. The goal is not to delineate what is a man or what is a woman but to pronounce the eligible couple - who are seeking the blessing of the community - husband and wife. Marriage is not the capstone for any and every relationship you might imagine. In the exceptional cases of confused physical/psychological sexual identity exceptions to a narrow definition of gender may need to be made but the marriage ceremony ends pronouncing the couple husband and wife.  If those limitations do not work for the couple then they need to look at some kind of a civil contract.

 The blessings of the specific limitations of marriage benefit the entire community. The current rate of divorce is telling and social programs that might be contributing to that situation need to be carefully evaluated. The sad state of marriage today may in significant part be a reflection of the mentality that our passions and pleasures should be allowed to lead us around by “the nose”. We are too quick to hop into bed or to run off into the next war.

Posted by: Steve Wilson | Feb 06, 2012 20:48

Labor Unions

There was universal support for unions among the Democrats to help shore up the middle class. Coming out of WWII no doubt two things contributed to the dramatic growth of the middle class. One was the Eisenhower tax structure that went up to 91% on the kind of absurd earnings we are seeing CEOs getting today and the other was unions that assured the workers a livable wage.  Rolling back taxes on the rich and undermining the rights of workers to collectively bargain for fair wages along with encouraging manufacturing to move off shore threaten a one, two , three knockout to retirees and  workers while still coddling our government officials and the absurdly rich.

However, unions can be just another no value added cost on the shoulders of the working man. A really good CEO will make his extra money on the stock he buys at market and a really good company does not need a union to remind them to take care of the employees and assure them their fair piece of the pie. Still some companies need to be unionized and the way always needs to there to allow it and to reverse it.

Posted by: Steve Wilson | Feb 06, 2012 21:01


All three candidates agreed to support adequate funding for education. Their support for commercial tax cuts need to be watched carefully so as to not cut into education dollars.

There are two things in education that worry me. One is, are we educating our children to stay of leave. The other is are we educating our children to lead or follow. I think our return on our investment will depend on factoring in these two. Anita Hampton was there and she can tell You all about Reggio Emilia but she was quiet Saturday. Next time You see her ask her about it.  


Posted by: Steve Wilson | Feb 06, 2012 21:16

The Environment

Karen Carter, sitting beside me, was concerned that no one spoke to the environment. She said we need to protect - the forests, wetlands, water, soil, parks – the environment of Henry County. Yep we sure do.   I encouraged Brian Carter to run for supervisor, but he declined.

Posted by: Steve Wilson | Feb 06, 2012 21:24

Final Note:

Transparency in Government

We need the spirit of transparency and integrity and dialog to flower and flourish in Henry County government. Public hearings need to be relished. Openness needs to come naturally from a heartfelt appreciation for the opportunity to serve in conducting the business of the people. I contacted Dave Heaton and encouraged him to support legislation seeking to put some teeth in the Sunshine Law. Some times a change in action must come before a change of heart.

Steve Wilson

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