Thumbs Up … to the bipartisan consensus that seems to have developed on the extension of the 1-cent state sales tax to support school building projects in Iowa. On a 96-3 vote, the Iowa House passed a measure this week that extends the tax 20 years.
The bill will now go to the Senate.
This penny sales tax has been in place in the Quad-Cities for decades. But in 2008 these local option taxes were consolidated under the state and given a 2029 sunset date.
School boards have been lobbying for an immediate extension in order to better plan their futures, and we have been supportive of this effort.
We are grateful lawmakers took this step so local districts are able to keep their buildings maintained and up to date. It seems like an easy one, especially given new legislation that is prompting uncertainty about the ability of local government to control their own fiscal futures.
We're hopeful that lawmakers now go slow on property tax limitation proposals that could undercut the efforts they've just taken. But, for now, we applaud last week's vote in the House.
Thumbs Down …. to U.S. Sens. Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, for failing to join the dozen Republicans in the U.S. Senate who stuck up for the Constitution on Thursday by voting with Democrats for a measure to overturn President Trump’s emergency declaration at our country's southern border.
The resolution, which the House passed earlier, cleared the Senate on a 59-41 vote.
Trump vetoed the measure Friday. Still, Thursday’s vote was significant in that it featured a large number of Republican defections from the White House.
The president portrayed a vote for the resolution as offering support to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. The dozen brave Republicans, instead, said they were backing the Constitution.
We find ourselves in agreement with them. The president is enacting a plan to appropriate money for a border wall, which Congress already has rejected. No matter your view on the wall, this clearly is contrary to what our Founding Fathers intended.
Grassley said Trump is just exercising the powers Congress have given to the executive branch. At the same time, he and Ernst also have said they believe Congress ought to rein in those powers.
That's nice. But President Trump doesn't want to give up those powers, and it seems to us that lawmakers who truly cared about restoring a balance would have used this moment for leverage. Unfortunately, voting with the White House on this resolution simply validated Congress' surrender of their Constitutional powers.
Which leaves us still with the serious situation on the border. We have seen reports about the recent increases in apprehensions and the growing humanitarian crisis there.
We believe something needs to be done, but we don’t see how a wall would help, especially in the short term. Perhaps both sides should go back to the drawing board and find a solution less tied to politics and more likely to work.
Thumbs Up … to all those who had a hand in helping Latonya Moore and her East Moline family. Moore's 11-year-old son Evan, a 6th grader, was diagnosed with T-cell leukemia and he has been treated in Peoria.
To spend time with Evan, Moore has been forced to take the bus, a hardship on Moore, her three other children and her husband, Aaron.
She got some measure of relief from that burden this week when Moline Police officer Pat Moody, in cooperation with the Moline Municipal Credit Union and a friend at Cheap Cars in Silvis, presented her with a 2005 Ford Freestyle to make the trip.
Not only did they provide the car, but they also covered the taxes, registration and insurance for a year.
As the Times' Thomas Geyer reported this week, Moore has also been given help through a GoFundMe account set up by three Glenview Middle School teachers. And it looks like entire district has jumped on board to help the family.
We applaud the efforts of all involved.
Geyer reports that young Evan needs extensive therapy and is going to a rehabilitation center in Chicago as he continues to fight this disease. We send our best wishes to Evan and his family, along with all those who we know are praying that he is successful in this fight.