Thumbs Up ... to this week's estimate from Iowa's Revenue Estimating Conference, which projected only a slight loss in revenues this year when compared to the year before. It also projected a 4% increase in revenues for fiscal year 2021-22, which begins next July.
Given all the economic uncertainty amid the pandemic and the high levels of unemployment, we're happy to see this isn't having as bad an effect as some analysts had feared.
Still, Holly Lyons, a member of the conference and director of the Legislative Services Agency, said the economy won't truly get back on track until the pandemic is over, or a vaccine or therapeutic treatment is developed and widely distributed.
David Roederer, the director of the Department of Management who also sits on the REC, said the group is being cautions, but he expressed optimism. He said, "fundamentally, we're in pretty good shape."
With the number of coronavirus cases is rising nationally, and Iowa already at a high rate of infection relative to other states, caution about the pandemic's impact on the economy is certainly warranted. And we will be eager to see the next report, in December.
Still, so far, the news delivered this week was better than some people had expected.
Let's hope it continues.
Thumbs Down ... to the obscene amounts of money being spent in Illinois to kick Illinois Supreme Court Justice Tom Kilbride off the bench. So far, it looks like the price tag will exceed an eye-popping $6 million.
As Sarah Mansur of Capitol News Illinois reported this week, an anti-retention group has raised $2.8 million as part of its campaign, including a whopping $2 million from Kenneth Griffin, an Illinois billionaire and prolific donor to conservative causes.
We already have endorsed Kilbride, and we hope that voters will vote to retain him. For its part, the committee supporting the Rock Island justice has raised about $3 million, much of it from law firms and unions. But, as Kilbride noted, that wouldn't be necessary were it not for this partisan campaign to oust him from the bench.
As Kent Redfield, professor emeritus at the University of Illinois Springfield, noted in Mansur's article, "the idea was that retention would be a way to get rid of bad judges that had egregious behavior or made crazy rulings. It was not intended that it would necessarily become partisan."
It also has become extremely expensive.
Thumbs Up ... to Well Suited, the Quad-Cities organization, that held the I Matter rally last Sunday at Douglas Park in Rock Island.
The event featured a number of speakers who, according to the organization's Facebook page, were there to "deliver messages on hope, opportunity, faith, courage, inspiration and the reality of being a BLACK MAN!"
For a number of years, Well Suited has worked to connect Black youngsters with Black mentors. And, according to WQAD-TV, Tracy White, Well Suited's founder, said this is the first such rally in an effort to extend the organization's services into the community.
Thumbs Up ... to Travis Konda, an engineer from Minnesota who has been in the Quad-Cities for more than three years working on the new Interstate-74 bridge.
Konda spearheaded the construction of a new picnic shelter in Leach Park at the base of the I-74 bridge. With donations from private companies and the assistance and permission of the City of Bettendorf, Konda added a third shelter to the two that already exist
As noted in an article by reporter Alma Gaul, Konda, an engineer with HNTB Corp., of Kansas City, saw the other two shelters were perpetually busy, so he decided to give back to a community he's been a part of for three-and-a-half years.
We all have watched as workers like Konda have labored to build the new I-74 bridge over the past few years. It's been an impressive feat.
We already know the bridge will be a lasting legacy for this community. But so, too, will be the caring and generosity that's been exhibited by Konda and his partners with this new gift.