[ {"id":"d36e7ea7-bed1-5954-bbb3-b8a1ca9785ae","type":"article","starttime":"1490770800","starttime_iso8601":"2017-03-29T02:00:00-05:00","lastupdated":"1490807463","sections":[{"editorial":"news/opinion/editorial"}],"application":"editorial","title":"Editorial: Mendoza ditched campaign pledge","url":"http://qctimes.com/news/opinion/editorial/article_d36e7ea7-bed1-5954-bbb3-b8a1ca9785ae.html","permalink":"http://qctimes.com/news/opinion/editorial/editorial-mendoza-ditched-campaign-pledge/article_d36e7ea7-bed1-5954-bbb3-b8a1ca9785ae.html","canonical":"http://qctimes.com/news/opinion/editorial/editorial-mendoza-ditched-campaign-pledge/article_d36e7ea7-bed1-5954-bbb3-b8a1ca9785ae.html","relatedAssetCounts":{"article":0,"audio":0,"image":1,"link":0,"vmix":0,"youtube":0,"gallery":0},"byline":"Quad-City Times editorial board","prologue":"Like a good Illinois Democrat, state Comptroller Susana Mendoza rolled over. Mendoza had two choices last week after a court ordered her to pay state lawmakers when no budget exists: Immediately appeal or cave. She chose the latter.\u00a0 To be fair, Mendoza's office finally filed a notice stating its intent to appeal on Tuesday.","supportsComments":false,"commentCount":0,"keywords":["susana mendoza","politics","institutes","parliament","lawmaker","lack","campaign","michael madigan","illinois","legislator"],"internalKeywords":[],"customProperties":{},"presentation":"","images":[{"id":"1c66b02e-5eb4-5491-9b96-7cc13b5a8506","description":"","byline":"Heidi Jo Brady","hireswidth":1820,"hiresheight":2730,"hiresurl":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/qctimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/1/c6/1c66b02e-5eb4-5491-9b96-7cc13b5a8506/58a35a0ac3ef7.hires.jpg","presentation":"mugshot","versions":{"full":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1175","height":"1762","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/qctimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/1/c6/1c66b02e-5eb4-5491-9b96-7cc13b5a8506/58a35a0a55e58.image.jpg?resize=1175%2C1762"},"100": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"100","height":"150","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/qctimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/1/c6/1c66b02e-5eb4-5491-9b96-7cc13b5a8506/58a35a0a55e58.image.jpg?resize=100%2C150"},"300": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"300","height":"450","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/qctimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/1/c6/1c66b02e-5eb4-5491-9b96-7cc13b5a8506/58a35a0a55e58.image.jpg?resize=300%2C450"},"1024":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1024","height":"1536","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/qctimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/1/c6/1c66b02e-5eb4-5491-9b96-7cc13b5a8506/58a35a0a55e58.image.jpg?resize=1024%2C1536"}}}],"revision":14,"commentID":"d36e7ea7-bed1-5954-bbb3-b8a1ca9785ae","body":"

Like a good Illinois Democrat, state Comptroller Susana Mendoza rolled over.

Mendoza had two choices last week after a court ordered her to pay state lawmakers when no budget exists: Immediately appeal or cave. She chose the latter.\u00a0

To be fair, Mendoza's office finally filed a notice stating its intent to appeal on Tuesday.

But Mendoza immediately started issuing lawmakers' paychecks following a ruling in Cook County ordering the release of lamakers' paychecks. Mendoza didn't come up with the idea to withhold paychecks for the very people responsible for Illinois' two-year fiscal dumpster fire. Her GOP predecessor, Leslie Munger, died on that hill. Former Gov. Pat Quinn made a go at it, too.\u00a0

Quinn couldn't ram the legalization through House Speaker Michael Madigan, a man who concurrently lords over the General Assembly and Illinois Democratic Party.\u00a0

Munger's entire campaign was built around the slogan \"No budget, no pay.\" Mendoza co-opted it, too. It's good, populist politics in a state that hasn't actually functioned in almost 700 days. And hitting the Legislature itself squarely in the wallet is probably the only way Illinois' credit-busting impasse ends anytime soon.\u00a0

Mendoza's seemingly hollow words, however, flew in the face of her party's don't-rock-the-boat policy, which cares only for 2018's gubernatorial race to the detriment of actual governance.\u00a0

The proof is in Mendoza's non-reaction. She could have fought back. She could have requested an immediate stay.

Nope.

Mendoza's actions don't square with her campaign rhetoric.

It's tiresome to repeatedly run through the ills that plague the state with the lowest credit rating in the nation. It's frustrating to continually write about Illinois' collapsing pension system, failing tax structure and political grandstanding that sacrifices electoral victories for even basic governance.

But it's all true.

Billions worth of bills are still unpaid. The grownups in Illinois Senate can't hammer out a bipartisan budget deal. Gov. Bruce Rauner has displayed a striking lack of political chops. Speaker Madigan's stranglehold on all things Illinois just won't yield. Union ownership of Illinois' ruling party. And yet, lawmakers still think they should get paid, while so many others aren't.\u00a0

Withholding paychecks for legislators doesn't have the best record in the courts. The Legislature lacks the moral compass to put anyone else ahead of itself. So, Illinois staggers along after attaining a dubious distinction that even New York and California avoided in the past decade.\u00a0

Illinois is a failed state.

Mendoza might lose should she push the issue to an appellate court. But even a stay of the Cook County ruling, if granted, would apply continued pressure to lawmakers who have proven themselves deaf to their constituents. For a time, it would force legislators to share the burden they have heaped on everyone else. It would show that Illinois' comptroller isn't just another pawn of the Democratic machine.

Mendoza's lack of action so far suggests she's just another slave to Madigan's Chicago Democrats.

Seek a stay, Ms. Mendoza. Anything less will verify our suspicions.\u00a0

Correction: The original draft incorrectly stated Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan role in the case. The lawsuit was brought by lawmakers.\u00a0

"}, {"id":"f24892cf-c9ec-5782-8754-977ead03254c","type":"article","starttime":"1490511600","starttime_iso8601":"2017-03-26T02:00:00-05:00","lastupdated":"1490718963","sections":[{"editorial":"news/opinion/editorial"}],"application":"editorial","title":"Editorial: Democrats can only lose by blocking Gorsuch","url":"http://qctimes.com/news/opinion/editorial/article_f24892cf-c9ec-5782-8754-977ead03254c.html","permalink":"http://qctimes.com/news/opinion/editorial/editorial-democrats-can-only-lose-by-blocking-gorsuch/article_f24892cf-c9ec-5782-8754-977ead03254c.html","canonical":"http://qctimes.com/news/opinion/editorial/editorial-democrats-can-only-lose-by-blocking-gorsuch/article_f24892cf-c9ec-5782-8754-977ead03254c.html","relatedAssetCounts":{"article":0,"audio":0,"image":1,"link":0,"vmix":0,"youtube":0,"gallery":0},"byline":"Quad-City Times editorial board","prologue":"U.S. Senate Democrats don't have much political capital to burn. So, it'd be foolish to use it all fighting the nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch to the U.S. Supreme Court. Frankly, there are better hills to die on right now. And Sens. Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth had better realize it fast.\u00a0 Senators have every right to be annoyed with the process surrounding Supreme Court nominees. Republicans, namely Iowa's own Chuck Grassley, last year waged war on the process itself when he blocked then-President Barack Obama's pick.\u00a0","supportsComments":false,"commentCount":0,"keywords":["democrats","politics","institutes","republicans","donald trump","governance","senate","neil gorsuch","rating"],"internalKeywords":[],"customProperties":{},"presentation":"","images":[{"id":"a4265b08-d485-5ea9-908e-735fa8ce6458","description":"","byline":"","hireswidth":2100,"hiresheight":1572,"hiresurl":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/qctimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/a/42/a4265b08-d485-5ea9-908e-735fa8ce6458/58d51fd41e72f.hires.jpg","presentation":"","versions":{"full":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1664","height":"1245","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/qctimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/a/42/a4265b08-d485-5ea9-908e-735fa8ce6458/58d51fd3d9795.image.jpg?resize=1664%2C1245"},"100": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"100","height":"75","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/qctimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/a/42/a4265b08-d485-5ea9-908e-735fa8ce6458/58d51fd3d9795.image.jpg?resize=100%2C75"},"300": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"300","height":"224","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/qctimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/a/42/a4265b08-d485-5ea9-908e-735fa8ce6458/58d51fd3d9795.image.jpg?resize=300%2C224"},"1024":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1024","height":"766","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/qctimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/a/42/a4265b08-d485-5ea9-908e-735fa8ce6458/58d51fd3d9795.image.jpg?resize=1024%2C766"}}}],"revision":8,"commentID":"f24892cf-c9ec-5782-8754-977ead03254c","body":"

U.S. Senate Democrats don't have much political capital to burn. So, it'd be foolish to use it all fighting the nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Frankly, there are better hills to die on right now. And Sens. Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth had better realize it fast.\u00a0

Senators have every right to be annoyed with the process surrounding Supreme Court nominees. Republicans, namely Iowa's own Chuck Grassley, last year waged war on the process itself when he blocked then-President Barack Obama's pick.\u00a0

Democrats don't have the votes to block Gorsuch forever. Digging in and stalling through filibuster, as Minority Leader Chuck Schumer promised, would constitute the same assault on reasoned governance that Grassley adopted leading up to last year's election. It'd be the same intransigence Republicans tapped to grind government to a halt through Obama's presidency. It'd be just another attack on all-important processes and norms that can't take much more. And Schumer's gamble would dare Republicans to go \"nuclear\" and amend Senate rules to scuttle the very 60-vote threshold that makes Democrats relevant in the first place.\u00a0

In this fight, Democrats will ultimately lose.\u00a0

Gorsuch is eminently qualified for the post. One mustn't share his perspective on politics and law to acknowledge that objective fact.

Is he conservative? Sure, maybe even more so than the late Antonin Scalia, whom he'd replace. Have his rulings been overturned? Absolutely.

But Gorsuch is, by every measure, a renowned legal scholar. His opinions -- majority and minority alike -- are erudite and profound.

We share Democrats' concerns about his leanings on dark money, abortion and voting access. But, to put it plainly, Democrats put up a deeply unpopular candidate for president. Republican Donald Trump seized the White House.

Elections have consequences. And Gorsuch is among a handful of Trump's picks who are actually qualified for the job for which they were selected.\u00a0

The block-everything-at-all-cost approach might be tempting in the age of Trump. It certainly stirred up the GOP's base throughout the Obama years. Democrats, too, would love to rally the angry throngs around their cause. But Trump's administration is so dysfunctional, his ties to foreign governments so questionable, that mounting a doomed bid against Gorsuch would be a waste of precious political power.

Save the anger for congressional investigations into Russia, which, right now, are fueled by almost daily revelations. Save the grandstanding for fights over health care, Trump's \"big, beautiful wall\" and a needless buildup of the U.S. military. Muster the rage when it's justified, such as when Trump targets religious minorities and the Constitution itself.

Trump's approval ratings are plummeting, polls show. It's only a matter of time before Senate Republicans start abandoning the tweeter-in-chief. Save the high-ground of reason for when it really counts.\u00a0

For too long, governance itself has been under siege by political hackery. Pledges to stall Gorsuch at all cost are nothing short of the Democrats straining further an already stressed system. The limited political power Democrats wield could prove priceless in a coming stand-off, particularly as Trump's approval ratings plunge and the FBI probes close in on his inner circle.\u00a0

At the end of the day, every Democrat in the Senate shouldn't carry any guilt for opposing Gorsuch in a floor vote. His is a political-legal bent that should trouble them, but burning the house down with a protracted, made-for-television filibuster would be just another unnecessarily irrational response in the name of politics. There's too much of that already.\u00a0

Gorsuch is most certainly qualified. That's enough to render Democrats guilty of the same crimes they've long railed against, should they follow through with the filibuster.

In just eight weeks, Trump has given his opponents plenty of reasons to be rightfully enraged. It's up to the dissent to pick its battles or risk undermining any rational basis for its entire cause. \u00a0

"}, {"id":"f6ffc5a9-7f4d-5f7d-9fec-57418353b3e2","type":"article","starttime":"1490425200","starttime_iso8601":"2017-03-25T02:00:00-05:00","sections":[{"editorial":"news/opinion/editorial"}],"application":"editorial","title":"Editorial: Thumbs up, thumbs down","url":"http://qctimes.com/news/opinion/editorial/article_f6ffc5a9-7f4d-5f7d-9fec-57418353b3e2.html","permalink":"http://qctimes.com/news/opinion/editorial/editorial-thumbs-up-thumbs-down/article_f6ffc5a9-7f4d-5f7d-9fec-57418353b3e2.html","canonical":"http://qctimes.com/news/opinion/editorial/editorial-thumbs-up-thumbs-down/article_f6ffc5a9-7f4d-5f7d-9fec-57418353b3e2.html","relatedAssetCounts":{"article":0,"audio":0,"image":1,"link":0,"vmix":0,"youtube":0,"gallery":0},"byline":"Quad-City Times editorial board","prologue":"Thumbs up to basketball standouts from throughout the Quad-Cities. Augustana's men's basketball team came within a point of a Division III national championship. The Vikings weren't favored throughout most of the tournament. But they showed up, advanced to the finals and played a strong Babson team to a near draw.","supportsComments":false,"commentCount":0,"keywords":["toilet","sport","building industry","surveillance","official","basketball team","thumbs up","camera","terry branstad"],"internalKeywords":[],"customProperties":{},"presentation":"","images":[{"id":"795a95d7-41d4-5b90-877d-432bee7cf156","description":"Babson's Isaiah Nelsen (34) and Charlie Rice defend against Augustana's Jacob Johnston during the Division III national championship game Saturday in Salem, Va.","byline":"AP","hireswidth":3823,"hiresheight":3280,"hiresurl":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/qctimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/7/95/795a95d7-41d4-5b90-877d-432bee7cf156/58cde5b3690e8.hires.jpg","presentation":"","versions":{"full":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1554","height":"1333","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/qctimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/7/95/795a95d7-41d4-5b90-877d-432bee7cf156/58cde5b31357f.image.jpg?resize=1554%2C1333"},"100": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"100","height":"86","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/qctimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/7/95/795a95d7-41d4-5b90-877d-432bee7cf156/58cde5b31357f.image.jpg?resize=100%2C86"},"300": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"300","height":"257","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/qctimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/7/95/795a95d7-41d4-5b90-877d-432bee7cf156/58cde5b31357f.image.jpg?resize=300%2C257"},"1024":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1024","height":"878","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/qctimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/7/95/795a95d7-41d4-5b90-877d-432bee7cf156/58cde5b31357f.image.jpg?resize=1024%2C878"}}}],"revision":3,"commentID":"f6ffc5a9-7f4d-5f7d-9fec-57418353b3e2","body":"

Thumbs up to basketball standouts from throughout the Quad-Cities.

Augustana's men's basketball team came within a point of a Division III national championship. The Vikings weren't favored throughout most of the tournament. But they showed up, advanced to the finals and played a strong Babson team to a near draw.

Even Brea Beal, a sophomore at Rock Island High School, was named\u00a0Illinois Ms. Basketball for 2017. Muscatine Junior\u00a0Joe Wieskamp was named\u00a0Iowa's Gatorade Player of the Year.

Both are stellar talents and are worth watching as they mature.\u00a0

Thumbs down to Iowa City Public Library for filming people using its bathrooms.

The public facility's clear breach of the presumption of privacy was a reaction to theft and vandalism, library officials recently told Iowa Senators. The cameras are not directed at the toilets or urinals, officials stressed.\u00a0

Like the ACLU of Iowa, we clearly disagree.

Cameras are everywhere these days. Many an intellectual has opined on the death of all privacy in the age of government surveillance, social media and smart phones.

But this is one step too far, particularly in a public building. Those images are rightly subject to state Freedom of Information Law. We're not convinced of the public interest in watching your neighbor change a diaper. It's of minimal public good to watch who washed their hands after using the toilet.

A bill to ban bathroom surveillance in public restrooms this week made its first progress in the state Senate. It should pass both houses and Gov. Terry Branstad should sign it.

Enough is enough.\u00a0

Thumbs up to\u00a0People Uniting Neighbors and Churches (PUNCH) for its commitment\u00a0to providing fresh produce to Davenport's poor.

Construction is under way of a \"hoop house\" greenhouse adjacent to\u00a0First Baptist Church on Perry Street. The neighborhood is providing the labor. And the resulting vegetables will be available free of charge.

"}, {"id":"ada10c0f-416f-5549-bdda-ef0c8091e068","type":"article","starttime":"1490338800","starttime_iso8601":"2017-03-24T02:00:00-05:00","lastupdated":"1490718963","sections":[{"editorial":"news/opinion/editorial"}],"flags":{"top_story":"true"},"application":"editorial","title":"Editorial: Students pay for tax cuts","url":"http://qctimes.com/news/opinion/editorial/article_ada10c0f-416f-5549-bdda-ef0c8091e068.html","permalink":"http://qctimes.com/news/opinion/editorial/editorial-students-pay-for-tax-cuts/article_ada10c0f-416f-5549-bdda-ef0c8091e068.html","canonical":"http://qctimes.com/news/opinion/editorial/editorial-students-pay-for-tax-cuts/article_ada10c0f-416f-5549-bdda-ef0c8091e068.html","relatedAssetCounts":{"article":0,"audio":0,"image":1,"link":0,"vmix":0,"youtube":0,"gallery":0},"byline":"Quad-City Times editorial board","prologue":"Basic fairness will die in Appropriations. And Iowa's busted tax policy will kill it.\u00a0 That's the fate of school equity legislation now sitting in the Iowa House, according to predictions of a half-dozen state lawmakers representing the Quad-Cities. The bipartisan soothsaying late Wednesday and early Thursday put a cloud over what, until now, had been a high-point of the legislative cycle.\u00a0","supportsComments":false,"commentCount":0,"keywords":["legislation","ross paustian","law","economics","district superintendent art tate","politics","student","iowa","equity","funding","cindy winckler"],"internalKeywords":["#free"],"customProperties":{},"presentation":"","images":[{"id":"b4fdb6ce-6bf5-53e4-858a-4921c61520b5","description":"Davenport school students Ezekiel Hayslett, Mickey Sloat and Anthony DeSalvo stand behind Dr. Arthur Tate wearing tee shirts claming \"I'm Worth-less\" in response to the State of Iowa which values Davenport School students with less value than other school districts in the state, Monday, March 9, 2015, during the regular School Board meeting, where Dr. Tate claims he will not cut teacher positions and will spend unauthorized money that the district already has.","byline":"John Schultz","hireswidth":3000,"hiresheight":1963,"hiresurl":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/qctimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/b/4f/b4fdb6ce-6bf5-53e4-858a-4921c61520b5/568b4147d18c2.hires.jpg","presentation":null,"versions":{"full":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1500","height":"982","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/qctimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/b/4f/b4fdb6ce-6bf5-53e4-858a-4921c61520b5/5747571ee0732.image.jpg?resize=1500%2C982"},"100": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"100","height":"65","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/qctimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/b/4f/b4fdb6ce-6bf5-53e4-858a-4921c61520b5/568b4147d2477.preview-100.jpg"},"300": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"300","height":"196","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/qctimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/b/4f/b4fdb6ce-6bf5-53e4-858a-4921c61520b5/5747571ee0732.image.jpg?resize=300%2C196"},"1024":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1024","height":"670","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/qctimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/b/4f/b4fdb6ce-6bf5-53e4-858a-4921c61520b5/5747571ee0732.image.jpg?resize=1024%2C670"}}}],"revision":6,"commentID":"ada10c0f-416f-5549-bdda-ef0c8091e068","body":"

Basic fairness will die in Appropriations. And Iowa's busted tax policy will kill it.\u00a0

That's the fate of school equity legislation now sitting in the Iowa House, according to predictions of a half-dozen state lawmakers representing the Quad-Cities. The bipartisan soothsaying late Wednesday and early Thursday put a cloud over what, until now, had been a high-point of the legislative cycle.\u00a0

The bill passed earlier this month in the state Senate, SF 455, was the \"best opportunity yet\" for fairness among all public school students in Iowa, Davenport Community School District Superintendent Art Tate told us. For too long, Iowa has touted a grossly unjust funding model where some districts receive more state funding than others. But, as we predicted earlier this week, years of tax cuts, exemptions and corporate welfare has hamstrung Iowa's ability to do much of anything.

And that's the reality faced by proponents of the equity bill, which breezed through the House Education Committee on Wednesday. Now, the $203 million, 10-year package heads to the House Appropriations Committee. And that's where Quad-Cities Reps. Norlin Mommsen, Republican, and Democrats Phyllis Thede and Cindy Winckler -- all committee members -- predicted the legislation's demise, in light of yet another revenue shortfall of more than $100 million.

For their part, all House members surveyed support the bill, at least in concept. Reps. Winckler and Monica Kurth would back it should it ever reach the floor. Republicans Ross Paustian and Gary Mohr, too, would back it in concept. But they just don't see Appropriations freeing up the $14 million needed for its first year.

\"It's unfortunate that the Senate rushed a bill over to us without any idea on how to fund it,\" Paustian said.

So, now what?

The legislation's very existence is a moral victory, some will say. It's an acknowledgement\u00a0that the system is broken. It's an official recognition that more than 300 districts statewide, including Davenport and Maquoketa, can't compete with their neighbors and, as a result, are further hamstrung by incessant middle class flight and sagging property values, they'll contend.

There can be no moral victory until the structural injustice is undone. Still, Tate would find himself facing career-ending sanctions\u00a0because of his budgetary protests against an inequitable funding model. His district would continue to live under a mandate that bilks it of $2.4 million every year.\u00a0

It's possible that lawmakers will forgive Tate's legal transgressions as a consolation\u00a0prize. Bills kicking around both chambers would legalize the budgetary maneuver\u00a0he enacted. A simple retroactive provision could clear Tate and salvage his career. That's the least lawmakers could do. In so doing, they'd provide themselves political cover by avoiding a public spat with a respected school official standing on principle.\u00a0

But, as Tate would tell you, this isn't about him. It's about his students.

And that's who, yet again, gets failed by a state that's gutted its revenue to the tune of $12 billion a year through tax hand-outs to special interests.

SF 455 wasn't perfect, which the Democrats will tell you. The decade-long roll-out opens the door for future legislatures to kill it. It was, however, the most politically\u00a0feasible\u00a0path forward.

The fact remains, tens of thousands of children in Iowa will continue to be second-class citizens if the bill dies. And it's those students who would pay for the state handouts for the well connected.\u00a0

"}, {"id":"25bb17da-8390-5d1a-a44e-be934934d258","type":"article","starttime":"1490190300","starttime_iso8601":"2017-03-22T08:45:00-05:00","lastupdated":"1490718963","sections":[{"editorial":"news/opinion/editorial"}],"application":"editorial","title":"Editorial: Iowa has a tax exemption problem","url":"http://qctimes.com/news/opinion/editorial/article_25bb17da-8390-5d1a-a44e-be934934d258.html","permalink":"http://qctimes.com/news/opinion/editorial/editorial-iowa-has-a-tax-exemption-problem/article_25bb17da-8390-5d1a-a44e-be934934d258.html","canonical":"http://qctimes.com/news/opinion/editorial/editorial-iowa-has-a-tax-exemption-problem/article_25bb17da-8390-5d1a-a44e-be934934d258.html","relatedAssetCounts":{"article":0,"audio":0,"image":1,"link":0,"vmix":0,"youtube":0,"gallery":0},"byline":"Quad-City Times editorial board","prologue":"Tax cuts. Tax exemptions. Tax credits. Basic services be damned. The Iowa Legislature finds itself in a bind of its own making. Lawmakers entered the 2017 session having to find $118 million because of less-than-anticipated tax revenues. And, last week, state analysis dropped another bombshell. Receipts for the coming year probably will fall another $131 million short of previous projections.","supportsComments":false,"commentCount":0,"keywords":["economics","finance","iowa","pat grassley","tax break","exemption","revenue","tax","legislation","bill"],"internalKeywords":["#free"],"customProperties":{},"presentation":"","images":[{"id":"7e11936b-a5a7-5fb4-9017-4da0366d4077","description":"Grassley","byline":"","hireswidth":null,"hiresheight":null,"hiresurl":null,"presentation":"mugshot","versions":{"full":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"512","height":"768","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/qctimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/7/e1/7e11936b-a5a7-5fb4-9017-4da0366d4077/58d18e026ba31.image.jpg?resize=512%2C768"},"100": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"100","height":"150","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/qctimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/7/e1/7e11936b-a5a7-5fb4-9017-4da0366d4077/565f8dcbd72e3.preview-100.jpg"},"300": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"300","height":"225","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/qctimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/7/e1/7e11936b-a5a7-5fb4-9017-4da0366d4077/58d18e026ba31.image.jpg?crop=491%2C368%2C2%2C123&resize=300%2C225&order=crop%2Cresize"},"1024":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1024","height":"767","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/qctimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/7/e1/7e11936b-a5a7-5fb4-9017-4da0366d4077/58d18e026ba31.image.jpg?crop=491%2C368%2C2%2C123"}}}],"revision":9,"commentID":"25bb17da-8390-5d1a-a44e-be934934d258","body":"

Tax cuts. Tax exemptions. Tax credits.

Basic services be damned.

The Iowa Legislature finds itself in a bind of its own making. Lawmakers entered the 2017 session having to find $118 million because of less-than-anticipated tax revenues. And, last week, state analysis dropped another bombshell. Receipts for the coming year probably will fall another $131 million short of previous projections.

It's a reality that threatens a school equity bill \u2014\u00a0costing $204 million over 10 years \u2014\u00a0that would finally end the treatment of public school students in Davenport and Makoqueta, and many other districts, as second-class citizens. It's the driver of a laughably insufficient 1.1 percent boost in total education funding, which amounts to a cut when inflation is considered.\u00a0

Roads will continue to crumble. Meaningful water quality initiatives will go nowhere. The justice system will remain understaffed.

In 2017, Republican lawmakers are moving toward a one-time solution, which they have spent years correctly lambasting as a shell game: Dip into the reserve funds to the tune of $132 million.\u00a0

But the real issue is billions lost because of handouts to any and all constituency groups that came asking for one.\u00a0

The various credit and exemption programs cost Iowa a whopping $12 billion a year, reported the Department of Revenue in January. That's nearly twice the annual state budget. Business tax breaks alone annually cost the state more than $600 million, reports The Des Moines Register.

Iowa's financial condition was built on a house of cards. And, unsurprisingly, it's all crashing down because the agricultural sector \u2014\u00a0one-third of the state economy \u2014\u00a0is trapped in, what many call, a \"recession.\" \u00a0

The scope of the problem would be lost to a casual observer of Monday's hearing before the state\u00a0House Appropriations Committee. Chairman Pat Grassley, R-New Hartford, has pitched benign legislation that would roll back a tiny fraction of tax credits offered to big business, which annually cost Iowa's coffers $427 million. Grassley's bill would arbitrarily\u00a0cap the credits at $400 million in July and roll it back to $370 million after several years. The very existence of the legislation is an admission that the system is broken. \u00a0

To hear the various groups blasting Grassley's not-far-enough legislation, one would think the state is considering an exponential boost to its tax rate.

Various groups packed the chamber to testify about the importance of one exemption or another. Grassley said the pushback\u00a0\"met my expectations of what was going to happen today.\"

In reality, all Iowans are paying the price for tax breaks that, by and large, favor a targeted few. It's also true that the state's economic condition has made clear the untenable position in which Iowa now finds itself. It's also true that the most conservative lawmakers want nothing more than to hobble the state further with more tax breaks, especially to big business.

That last fact alone almost assures that any meaningful overhaul to Iowa's tax structure would be a nonstarter. Ending any exemption, after all, will be construed as a tax hike, which doesn't look good on a campaign mailer.\u00a0

But Iowa can't continue like this. Dipping into reserves is but a short-term solution to a structural problem. Only a wholesale, reality-based review and revision of Iowa's system of tax breaks will dig Iowa out of this mess.

Iowans are paying for cut, cut, cut ideology that, as shown in states such as Kansas, just doesn't work. It's the end-game for a breed of fiscal conservatism that lays waste to known tax revenue and gambles on growth that almost never squares with the promises.

Some benefit from the slew of tax exemptions. The rest of us merely suffer the consequences.\u00a0

"}, {"id":"6354ba58-e08b-5f01-93ec-9a31d036c09e","type":"article","starttime":"1489906800","starttime_iso8601":"2017-03-19T02:00:00-05:00","lastupdated":"1490362324","sections":[{"editorial":"news/opinion/editorial"}],"application":"editorial","title":"Editorial: In Muscatine, a city council with no respect for voters","url":"http://qctimes.com/news/opinion/editorial/article_6354ba58-e08b-5f01-93ec-9a31d036c09e.html","permalink":"http://qctimes.com/news/opinion/editorial/editorial-in-muscatine-a-city-council-with-no-respect-for/article_6354ba58-e08b-5f01-93ec-9a31d036c09e.html","canonical":"http://qctimes.com/news/opinion/editorial/editorial-in-muscatine-a-city-council-with-no-respect-for/article_6354ba58-e08b-5f01-93ec-9a31d036c09e.html","relatedAssetCounts":{"article":0,"audio":0,"image":1,"link":0,"vmix":0,"youtube":0,"gallery":0},"byline":"Quad-City Times editorial board","prologue":"It'd be nothing short of an abortion of democracy if the Muscatine City Council ousts Mayor Diana Broderson because of its so-called charges. Broderson isn't a great mayor. She might not even be a good one.\u00a0 But it's also obvious that local politics in Muscatine is a snake pit. And her Thursday impeachment trial smacks of the worst kind of small-town politics, unfitting of a city of 23,000.\u00a0","supportsComments":false,"commentCount":0,"keywords":["diana broderson","politics","charge","voter","crime","muscatine city council","council member","administration"],"internalKeywords":[],"customProperties":{},"presentation":"","images":[{"id":"8b190069-50f5-50ae-be4a-9cb7dbb20db8","description":"","byline":"","hireswidth":2351,"hiresheight":1118,"hiresurl":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/qctimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/8/b1/8b190069-50f5-50ae-be4a-9cb7dbb20db8/58cc10ed09012.hires.jpg","presentation":"","versions":{"full":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"2088","height":"992","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/qctimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/8/b1/8b190069-50f5-50ae-be4a-9cb7dbb20db8/58cc10ecc9255.image.jpg?resize=2088%2C992"},"100": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"100","height":"48","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/qctimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/8/b1/8b190069-50f5-50ae-be4a-9cb7dbb20db8/58cc10ecc9255.image.jpg?resize=100%2C48"},"300": {"type":"image/jpeg","width":"300","height":"143","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/qctimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/8/b1/8b190069-50f5-50ae-be4a-9cb7dbb20db8/58cc10ecc9255.image.jpg?resize=300%2C143"},"1024":{"type":"image/jpeg","width":"1024","height":"486","url":"http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/qctimes.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/8/b1/8b190069-50f5-50ae-be4a-9cb7dbb20db8/58cc10ecc9255.image.jpg?resize=1024%2C486"}}}],"revision":16,"commentID":"6354ba58-e08b-5f01-93ec-9a31d036c09e","body":"

It'd be nothing short of an abortion of democracy if the Muscatine City Council ousts Mayor Diana Broderson because of its so-called charges.

Broderson isn't a great mayor. She might not even be a good one.\u00a0

But it's also obvious that local politics in Muscatine is a snake pit. And her Thursday impeachment trial smacks of the worst kind of small-town politics, unfitting of a city of 23,000.\u00a0

Hurt feelings and political entitlement lurk behind all the legalese in the 24-page complaint drafted by City Attorney Matthew Brick. Broderson could be guilty of each and every count and still any case for her removal would be a coup, a slap in the face to the voters who, last year, overruled the entrenched establishment's will and elected the political newcomer.\u00a0

These charges are, at best, nitpicky and, at worst, indications of a power structure in City Hall so averse to varied opinions and insecure in its power that you would find more open minds at a toddler day care.\u00a0

Broderson spoke poorly of city staff in public, according to the charges. Apparently, the simple act of griping is an ethical violation in Muscatine. She sought probes from various state agencies about the actions of past administrations and sitting officials, against which the city had to spend $100,000 to defend itself, say the allegations. Broderson hosted coffee meetings with constituents without the council's OK because that's somehow an impeachable offense, too. And perhaps most telling, Broderson dared to speak to city staff without first seeking permission from Administrator Gregg Mandsanger, the council alleges.\u00a0

Seriously? We tout more than a half-century of experience covering local governments among us. Never before have we encountered an ethics complaint lodged against an elected official for simply asking questions of staff. And it's this charge that's at the heart of all the unnecessary and damaging rancor.

No money is missing. No crimes were committed. Nope.

Challenging the good ol' boys is Broderson's crime. She asked questions. They won't stand for it.

They didn't approve of the liberals she appointed to various oversight boards, so they threw a tantrum and stripped her of her power to appoint anyone. Broderson challenged Mandsager's comfortable little fiefdom so, now, they accuse her of ethics violations for talking to staff.\u00a0

Muscatine City Council might be waging the most expensive dog-and-pony show in history, all because Broderson beat the preferred candidate in 2015. Taxpayers would pick up an even bigger tab should a protracted lawsuit follow Broderson's ouster.\u00a0

Take none of this as an endorsement of Broderson. She clearly lacks the chops necessary to navigate such a toxic political environment. Her calls for charges against two reporters, including Muscatine Journal's Emily Wenger, are an indefensible attack on a free press. Muscatine County Attorney\u00a0Alan Ostergren rightly told Broderson to pound salt.

But Broderson's bungles don't support an attack on the democratic process. They do, however, make a strong case against her in this year's election.\u00a0

That's perhaps what's most confounding about the circus at Muscatine City Hall. Broderson's inability to grapple with such a fragmented political ecosystem makes her vulnerable at the polls. Waiting wasn't an option for the entrench\u00a0political interests, however. Instead, they've mounted a community-fracturing assault on the voters of Muscatine. In so doing, they doubtlessly have improved Broderson's political\u00a0standing.\u00a0

A once bungling mayor is now a symbol of protest against those who want monopolized power over the city. In short, no matter what happens Thursday, this entire charade could blow up in the council's collective face.

It's exposed the pettiness of council members and administration. It's laid bare an unwillingness to share power. It's displayed a jaw-dropping disrespect\u00a0for voters and democracy itself.

Any City Council member who votes to oust Broderson on this paltry\u00a0list of niggles isn't fit for elected office.

"}, {"id":"ed360645-bd29-5b81-a867-b43a5a9d6fa5","type":"article","starttime":"1489820400","starttime_iso8601":"2017-03-18T02:00:00-05:00","sections":[{"editorial":"news/opinion/editorial"}],"application":"editorial","title":"Editorial: Thumbs up, thumbs down","url":"http://qctimes.com/news/opinion/editorial/article_ed360645-bd29-5b81-a867-b43a5a9d6fa5.html","permalink":"http://qctimes.com/news/opinion/editorial/editorial-thumbs-up-thumbs-down/article_ed360645-bd29-5b81-a867-b43a5a9d6fa5.html","canonical":"http://qctimes.com/news/opinion/editorial/editorial-thumbs-up-thumbs-down/article_ed360645-bd29-5b81-a867-b43a5a9d6fa5.html","relatedAssetCounts":{"article":0,"audio":0,"image":1,"link":0,"vmix":0,"youtube":0,"gallery":0},"byline":"Quad-City Times editorial board","prologue":"Thumbs up to U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst, who, on Friday, finally convened a town hall-style meetings with constituents in Des Moines and Cedar Rapids. Lawmakers throughout the country, particularly Republicans,\u00a0have been ducking usual constituent meetings amid growing unrest with President Donald Trump. Sen. Chuck Grassley was among a few who faced the anger head on.","supportsComments":false,"commentCount":0,"keywords":["enda kenny","economics","work","sociology","immigrant","donald trump","politics","joni ernst","constituent","meeting","republicans"],"internalKeywords":[],"customProperties":{},"presentation":"","revision":6,"commentID":"ed360645-bd29-5b81-a867-b43a5a9d6fa5","body":"

Thumbs up to U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst, who, on Friday, finally convened a town hall-style meetings with constituents in Des Moines and Cedar Rapids.

Lawmakers throughout the country, particularly Republicans,\u00a0have been ducking usual constituent meetings amid growing unrest with President Donald Trump. Sen. Chuck Grassley was among a few who faced the anger head on.

Now, Ernst faced her constituents. It's a welcome change.

Thumbs down to end-running Iowa's already lax regulation of industrial farming to the detriment of neighboring property owners.

Adam Pope is among investors hoping to build a 98,000-bird chicken farm outside Mason City. That's 2,000 birds below Iowa's threshold for a large-scale operations, which are more heavily regulated and offer nearby residents input.

It's probably no coincidence that those planning the chicken operation are staying just shy of levels that would trigger meaningful\u00a0oversight.\u00a0

\"It's really somewhat problematic for counties when you have a facility that's this size, because there's very little input that they have if it's built,\" Adam Shaffer of the Iowa DNR\u2019s Mason City office told the Globe Gazette in Mason City.

It's a loophole for which neighbors, such as\u00a0Bill Papouchis, will have to pay the price.\u00a0

Thumbs up to the Irish, and every other group that's faced oppression and prejudice throughout American history.

St. Patrick's Day festivities are in full swing today in the Quad-Cities. The bistate parade, parties, bands and plenty of green beer will mark the occasion.

During a visit to the White House this week, Irish Prime Minister\u00a0Enda Kenny couldn't resist making note of the parallels between what Irish immigrants faced a century ago\u00a0and forming U.S. policy on migrants.\u00a0

\"It\u2019s fitting that we gather here each year to celebrate St. Patrick and his legacy. He, too, of course, was an immigrant. And though he is, of course, the patron saint of Ireland, for many people around the globe, he\u2019s also a symbol of \u2014 indeed the patron of \u2014 immigrants,\" Kenny said.

We hope President Trump listened.\u00a0

"}, {"id":"72b00233-6793-5b17-9a47-c44da3062788","type":"article","starttime":"1489734000","starttime_iso8601":"2017-03-17T02:00:00-05:00","lastupdated":"1490495028","sections":[{"editorial":"news/opinion/editorial"}],"application":"editorial","title":"Editorial: Transparency is worth defending","url":"http://qctimes.com/news/opinion/editorial/article_72b00233-6793-5b17-9a47-c44da3062788.html","permalink":"http://qctimes.com/news/opinion/editorial/editorial-transparency-is-worth-defending/article_72b00233-6793-5b17-9a47-c44da3062788.html","canonical":"http://qctimes.com/news/opinion/editorial/editorial-transparency-is-worth-defending/article_72b00233-6793-5b17-9a47-c44da3062788.html","relatedAssetCounts":{"article":0,"audio":0,"image":0,"link":0,"vmix":0,"youtube":0,"gallery":0},"byline":"Quad-City Times editorial board","prologue":"Thirty-six million dollars. That's how much President Barack Obama's administration spent in its final year trying to keep the public in the dark, reports the Associated Press. In Iowa, casinos are looking for cover from public disclosure through legislation that would exempt them from it. Pistol permit holders will probably get shielded from the Freedom of Information Act through yet another exemption. And it took a Supreme Court decision for Davenport city officials to end closed-door meetings that flew in the face of Open Meetings Law.","supportsComments":false,"commentCount":0,"keywords":["foia","politics","official","holder","permit","statehouse","barack obama","donald trump"],"internalKeywords":[],"customProperties":{},"presentation":"","revision":14,"commentID":"72b00233-6793-5b17-9a47-c44da3062788","body":"

Thirty-six million dollars. That's how much President Barack Obama's administration spent in its final year trying to keep the public in the dark, reports the Associated Press.

In Iowa, casinos are looking for cover from public disclosure through legislation that would exempt them from it. Pistol permit holders will probably get shielded from the Freedom of Information Act through yet another exemption. And it took a Supreme Court decision for Davenport city officials to end closed-door meetings that flew in the face of Open Meetings Law.

Transparency is under attack, folks. It's a frontal assault on your right to know. It's a direct challenge to your ability to hold accountable the elected class. It's a reality that, if left unchecked, will result in the greatest ceding of power in decades.

Sunshine Laws exist for a reason. They became vogue after Watergate. They swept through the states, as the public became aware of the widespread grift that plagued every level of government. But each and every year, in statehouses throughout the nation, FOIA is eroded as a hand-out to some monied interest or another.

Unfortunately, the winnowing of public access has become a favorite gift too often bestowed on the well connected. \u00a0

Right now, any citizen can request a casino's annual audit. They pay for the increased police protection and social services that comes with such an establishment, after all. They're constituents of local and state governments that \u2014\u00a0as a function of gambling regulation \u2014\u00a0are in partnership with the casinos themselves.

The citizens, by every right, should have full access to information about a casino's financial situation. Like any public-private partnership, those footing the bill have a right to know what their investment funds.

The industry, however, doesn't like that access. Iowa law bars the gambling industry from funding campaigns. But it sends lobbyists to Des Moines. And, predictably, it gets a legislation that would rob the citizenry of the very information it deserves.

There are signs of improvement in the Quad-Cities, as shown in our Sunshine Week report card published Sunday. Davenport Mayor Frank Klipsch and the City Council increased transparency at City Hall, particularly on the open meeting front. If only the people would hold up their end and show up to the now-open meetings. Rock Island County's jump in our ratings coincides with the hiring of a professional, nonpartisan administrator.\u00a0

But things are getting worse in Washington. Government transparency has dwindled with each successive presidency. Obama pledged in 2008 to be the \"most transparent president\" in history. Bunk.

The man cracked down on clearly public information. The existence of his drone program \u2014\u00a0a morally questionable military technique \u2014\u00a0hit newspapers only because of leaks. He hassled journalists simply looking for the truth on any number of issues. He spent millions in court fighting those seeking access to basic information.\u00a0

And, now, President Donald Trump is expanding Obama's war on openness. His constant attacks on \"leakers\" and the media are only the beginning. Just this week, Trump secretly expanded the drone program to permit CIA strikes against suspected terrorists. Again, none of this would have been known without the very people whom Trump loves to vilify.

Too often, \"national security\" is an excuse to keep the people footing the bill in the dark.

Over all, things look dire for your right to know. Bills are kicking around some statehouses that would exempt lawmakers' emails from FOIA. Staff are embracing untraceable texting apps in order to end-run FOIA.

It's natural for officials to resent laws requiring policy discussions to occur in public view. Openness applies pressure.\u00a0

But pressure is, after all, the point. It's the only way of assuring it's the peoples' interests that are being served.\u00a0

"} ]