To the editor:
The other day I read the latest collection of half-truths and outright wrong information in Jeff Miller's letter to the Emmetsburg News.
I've been a farmer my whole life, except for the couple years I spent in the Korean War. Farmers need to stay on top of things and take care of problems the minute they arise. In that spirit, I'll take a shot at correcting just two of Mr. Miller's misperceptions.
Mr. Miller writes that, "The state of Iowa needs to have healthy reserves, be financially strong, and cut the burden on its citizens."
We certainly agree on that point, but Mr. Miller must've missed this good news: The state of Iowa has a balanced budget, $600 million in our reserve funds (that's equal to 10 percent of our annual budget), an expected $400 million surplus when this fiscal year ends on June 30, and a AAA bond rating.
These facts come from the Iowa Department of Revenue, from Iowa's non-partisan Legislative Services Bureau, from the State Treasurer, and from the nation's top credit rating agencies.
As far as cutting taxes, West Bend City Councilman Miller is apparently not keeping up on current events. I'm working on a commercial property tax cut that is strongly supported by city officials and community economic development advocates statewide-especially those from small towns.
Under the plan I support, 83 percent all commercial property in Iowa, starting with small businesses, would be taxed at the same rate as residential property. That amounts to a tax cut of about 45 percent. That's a big deal, especially when you consider that this tax cut is PAID FOR and does NOT increase taxes on residential property owners.
The Republican alternative is not paid for. Their plan will increase the tax burden on residential property owners and instead shower money on out-of-state corporations. Wal-Mart, to name one example, will receive an annual gift of $4.5 million from Iowa's taxpayers under the Republican plan.
Mr. Miller, you should check with the Iowa League of Cities about which tax break would be better for West Bend. The same goes for the West Bend-Mallard Schools. You ought to talk to local school officials and find out who has the better plan for helping your small town schools continue to meet the needs of students and families.
I'll keep fighting for the vitality of West Bend-for the survival of its Main Street, the quality of West Bend-Mallard schools, and good job opportunities for local Iowans. And if that means cleaning up after Mr. Miller's mistakes, I guess I've signed up for that job also.
(signed) Jack Kibbie