I would like to thank the 73 business and community leaders of Clinton County who attended my Business Roundtable on Monday at the Camanche Community Center. I was joined by Iowa Senate Majority Leader Jack Whitver (District 19, Ankeny) and Senator Carrie Koekler (District 29, Dyersville) and we listened to concerns and legislative priorities that will guide us in the 2020 legislative session that begins in Des Moines next week.
We discussed a variety of issues regarding economic development and issues that impact businesses in our area, including access to affordable quality childcare, affordable housing, attracting and retaining a skilled, educated workforce and preparing our K-12 students for additional education and/or training beyond high school that will help our economy grow.
A major topic was the four-lane expansion of Highway 30 between Lisbon and DeWitt. After a study, the recommendation to the Department of Transportation Commission is a “Super 2” instead of a full four-lane. (A Super 2 highway is where a periodic passing lane is added to a two-lane rural highway to allow passing of slower vehicles. The passing lane would alternate from one direction of travel to the other within a section of roadway allowing passing opportunities in both directions.) We believe that this is short-sighted and neglects the economic impact that a full-four lane would have on our region.
One particular concern discussed is the lack of representation from Eastern Iowa on the DOT Commission since Clintonian Dave Rose’s term expired. A suggestion was to mandate that there be at least one commissioner from each of the 6 DOT regions to help ensure that all areas of the state are represented.
Another topic included sustainable funding of mental health that takes the burden off property tax owners. Iowa is one of only a few states that uses property taxes to fund mental health. We are looking at other reliable ways to fund both the children’s and adult mental health systems that don’t put an additional tax burden on Iowans.
We will begin the legislative session on Monday. I can be reached at 563-289-7335 or email@example.com.