Thumbs Up.....to the Illinois Department of Commerce for designating the Quad-Cities as a state Enterprise Zone. The zones allow companies and other entities to qualify for tax breaks, like sales tax exemptions on building materials, as well as utility taxes.
A year ago, the Quad-Cities was notified it lost its longtime inclusion in the program, prompting worry from local economic development officials.
At the time, local officials said they'd try again -- and their efforts were rewarded. The state announced this week the designation had been restored.
“There may be people that have held back; this opens the door once again to being able to go ahead and build,” Tim Knanishu, executive vice president of REDEEM, a group that promotes development in East Moline, said this week.
The Quad-Cities economy has been looking better lately, but we still suffer by comparison with many other metros in the Midwest. We're hopeful this tool, which economic development officials say is important to incentivizing development, will contribute to new projects.
Thumbs Up and Down......to President Donald Trump. No doubt, farm interests in the state were cheered by the president's decision this week to order the Environmental Protection Agency to allow year round sales of E15. The president has been hinting for months that he'd take this step to bolster ethanol, and he came through.
But he couldn't leave it at that. The president, in full campaign mode, went to Council Bluffs and told a crowd "the Democrats will end ethanol. They will take it away."
That's ridiculous. If there's a holy grail among Iowa political figures, it's that renewable fuels, with ethanol at its foundation, are an economic and environmental virtue.
Now, there are those on the left and right, including in Iowa, who doubt the environmental argument for renewable fuels and the subsidies that support them.
But, for better or worse, there is broad support for them in Iowa, particularly with policymakers. To inject politics into this long-standing reality has the potential of fracturing that bipartisan consensus. It's not good for Iowa. And it's not true.
Thumbs Up.......to former First Lady Michelle Obama, who was asked this week about the new aggressiveness of some in her party toward their political opponents.
Mrs. Obama famously said at the Democratic National Convention in 2016, "when they go low, we go high." But Eric Holder, the former U.S. attorney general, proposed a new motto this week: "When they go low, we kick 'em."
Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton said. "you cannot be civil with a political party that wants to destroy what you stand for, what you care about."
Both have been taking flak from the right for those comments (yes, the same people who still chant, "lock her up" at Trump rallies)
Obama's response to the new tone was this: "Fear is not a proper motivator. Hope wins out. And if you think about how you want your kids to be raised, how you want them to think about life and their opportunities. Do you want them afraid of their neighbors? Do you want them angry? Do you want them vengeful? ... We can't model something different if we want them to be better than that."
In the heat of the midterms, this sentiment may seem naive. But we still think it's a political winner, as well as the right thing to do.