Letters to the Editor | Storm Lake Weather

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Off-base claim on RFS

Art Cullen’s recent op-ed criticizing Iowa Senators Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst for pushing back against EPA Biden’s proposed Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) rule was out of place, out of tone and, quite frankly, out of rocker sound.

It is shamefully inaccurate for Cullen to state that Grassley and Ernst “were pretty quiet” when the Trump administration undermined the RFS. As anyone who has paid attention, and as anyone who wants to comment on the subject should know, Grassley and Ernst have spent the four years of the Trump administration fighting almost constantly with him and his EPA to protect farmers from the RFS and Iowa. They defeated numerous schemes by Senator Ted Cruz and EPA Trump to destroy the RFS.

And when Trump finally gave in to Big Oil and granted the RFS exemptions that Cullen is referring to, our senators were anything but silent. They hammered and hammered, sometimes literally on Trump’s desk, until he agreed to report on these exemptions in the future. Life under the Trump EPA was not good for biofuels, but it would have been infinitely worse had it not been for the constant work of Grassley and Ernst to push back big oil projects.

Now, true to form, Grassley and Ernst do the same when EPA Biden came up with a bad RFS rule. Cullen calls their actions partisan.

Oh good? The entire Iowa delegation expressed disappointment with parts of the recently proposed RFS rule. Rep. Cindy Axne, a Democrat, said: “The proposed decision to retroactively lower the 2020 [RFS] the target does not reflect sufficient commitment to renewable fuels and family farmers. While some elected Republicans could have used stronger language, the point was the same.

It’s no surprise that the Iowa federal delegation has united to push for improvements to the proposed rule. After all, they only represent their constituents. The Iowa Farm Bureau, Iowa Corn Growers Association, Iowa Soybean Association, Iowa Biodiesel Board, and Iowa Renewable Fuels Association have all expressed concerns about parts of the proposed rule — just as they had done when EPA Trump undermined the RFS.

The Biden EPA proposal included good, bad and ugly. It is misleading to use quotes from groups regarding the good parts of the proposed rule to try to undermine Grassley and Ernst’s comments about the bad and ugly parts of the proposed rule.

Here are the facts. In four years, the Trump EPA has destroyed demand for an estimated 4.5 billion gallons of biofuels through the use of unwarranted refinery exemptions. The Biden EPA’s proposed rule would destroy demand by about 3.3 billion gallons. Ironically, given Cullen’s accusations, some of the proposed demand destruction would be achieved by illegally reopening and lowering (we believe) the final 2020 RFS levels put in place by EPA Trump.

But since it is still only a proposed rule, there is a chance to see it improved. That’s why we’re grateful to the entire Iowa delegation for stepping in and speaking out. They should be applauded, not laughed at.

There is no nice way to say this. Cullen’s op-ed was factually incorrect, used hand-picked half-truths to push a false narrative, and should be retracted. Quite frankly, Mr. Cullen, you owe the senators from Iowa an apology.

Mount Shaw | Executive Director, Iowa Renewable Fuels Association


Reynolds’ vision is blurry

The Iowa Alliance for Retired Americans is alarmed by Governor Kim Reynolds’ vision for Iowa. Seniors in Iowa appreciate a strong economy where our families can live and thrive. From tax cuts to undermining our schools and our future ability to fund public needs, his vision is blurry.

A strong economy needs strong infrastructure, but under six years of Republican leadership, Iowa has earned the dubious distinction of No. 1 or 2 in the nation for deficient bridges depending on whether you’re talking about numbers or percentages.

Our schools were once the envy of the nation, but instead of continuing the commitment to strengthen our public school system, our governor is abandoning the public school system by redirecting public money to private schools.

Our governor willingly took credit for the current budget surplus without acknowledging the action of the Biden administration’s efforts to distribute direct aid to citizens, states and local governments, most states had a budget surplus Last year. A notable exception is our neighbor to the east, Illinois. Illinois has a flat tax rate of 4.95%, which does not generate enough revenue to meet the demands of Illinois citizens. Our governor proposes to follow Illinois’ lead with a 4% tax, while neglecting to indicate upcoming sales and property tax increases.

The Alliance for Retired Americans believes taxes should be progressive, based on ability to pay, and source of income should not matter. Income is income. Currently, Iowa’s lowest tax rate is 0.33% for annual taxable income over $1,676. The tax rate on income over $75,420 is 8.53%.

Is it fair to increase the tax rate for the most disadvantaged in order to grant a tax reduction to the most affluent? Is it fair to exempt various types of income from all taxes? While pension tax cuts, 401(k) distributions and cash rents for retired farmers would help seniors, just because someone is retired does not mean they are in need. Seniors who aren’t blessed with retirement income and who work to supplement their meager Social Security check will face a steep tax hike. Is it right?

Iowa had the reputation of being “Iowa Nice”. These proposals make fun of this nickname.

Mike McCarthy, President

Kay Pence, vice president

Ken Sagar, Treasurer

Jan Corderman, Secretary

Lance Cole, Communications Director

Iowa Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO


Loss of freedom

As for “Reporting the Circus from the Cheap Seats” (Times, Jan. 12), I watched Charlie Chaplin’s “The Great Dictator” (music by Meredith Wilson of Mason City) last night. It seems that many of the Turner Classic films available are about totalitarianism. Good. We seem to be overwhelmed with freedom losses (as Iowa politicians talk about securing our freedom) by means such as: allowing pipelines through farmland, limiting access to information , bullying teachers, limiting women’s reproductive health, as well as removing journalists from the floor of the Iowa Senate chamber.

A friend suggested to me regarding Iowa Soil and Water Conservation, “They act like they don’t care what the public thinks.” Exactly! This is why voter suppression, gerrymandering and media control are so high on their priority list. I came to Iowa during the Robert Ray days. What a change in political culture since. Thanks to the Storm Lake Times for speaking out. I hope the rewards for good journalism continue to come your way.

mike delaney | Windsor Heights


CNA state of the state

Last night I heard Governor Kim Reynolds introduce a new Health Careers Registered Apprenticeship Program as part of her condition of the state.

As a retired nurse and spokesperson for a resident of a long-term care facility, this action concerns me.

In this program, high school students will be squeezed into the job market under the guise of helping to achieve their career goals. Granted, long-term care facilities desperately need certified health care aides, but facilities continue to reimburse staff with entry-level minimum wage.

Current auxiliary nursing staff are leaving long-term care facilities choosing early retirement due to the continued dangers of Covid transmission. The downward staff spiral continues due to 12-hour shifts, inadequate staff and very strenuous physical tasks. The salary does not reflect the skills and decision-making that these positions require.

High school students should learn educational components that will help them become thoughtful and informed citizens for Iowa’s future. Learn history, science and the basics of mathematics, and learn to write intelligently, without being trained to take care of our elderly. This action continues to downplay education standards in the state of Iowa.

When I try to learn additional criteria and information about this program referenced in the press release, I am unable to access the website because it is not available.

Iowa, we’re better than that. As we think about the future, we must do better for the educational future of our children. We know the key to keeping people in Iowa joining the workforce is making the workplace safe, having competitive wages, and having a welcoming state where others want to work, live and raise a family.

Marie Tisserand | Rippey

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