So I read in yesterday’s Cedar Rapids Gazette that Governor Culver wants to increase the hotel-motel tax in Cedar Rapids to help pay for flood recovery projects.
Excuse me for asking, but didn’t the state and federal government give the community of Cedar Rapids millions upon millions of dollars for flood recovery?
Isn’t the fact the Cedar Rapids needs more money for flood relief a sign that Culver’s I-Jobs program, which was sold to the legislature as a flood recovery program, didn’t work?
I feel for the people of Cedar Rapids, but how much more money do they need? How much longer will it take before their community is fully recovered?
What I would like to know is what do they need the money for? Is it critical infrastructure? If so, why hasn’t it been addressed before now? If we need to find some money for important projects, there are plenty of I-Jobs expenditures that could be eliminated or scaled back.
Have no fear, Governor Krusty has looked through Linn County’s I-Jobs grants and found a few places to cut.
Let’s start off with the $10 million I-Jobs awarded to the Human Services Resource Replacement Center. This center would house 7-10 nonprofit agencies. I’m betting that these non-profits already exist and occupy space in Cedar Rapids. Why the state has to spend $10 million on cool digs for these non-profits is beyond me. I think $10 million would go a long ways to pay for whatever it is Cedar Rapids needs.
If the good folks in Cedar Rapids need more that $10 million for more flood relief projects, Governor Krusty proposes that we scrap the plans for the new U.S. Cellular Center. Sorry Mr. Frew. Instead of using that $15 million on an event center, we should spend it on these critical flood recover projects that we are just learning about. Hey, who the hell needs a nice event center when the river isn’t contained?
So that gets us to $25 million in available money for flood recovery. I can find more if necessary. There is the $10 million that went for the National Czech & Slovak Museum. I know it was damaged in the floods, but rebuilding a museum is a luxury not a necessity. Plus did it really cost more than $10 million to build in the first place, or are we expecting the state to do more than make it whole again?
Then there is the $5 million spent of the beautiful Paramount Theater. I love that place, but again, it’s a luxury not a necessity. There is also the million dollars for Theatre Cedar Rapids. Again, this sounds really cool, but if we are considering tax increases because we still need money for flood recovery, surely something like this can wait. Right?
So there you have it Cedar Rapids. By my count I just found you $41 million that your city could use on necessities that flood prevention projects instead of luxuries like an office park for non-profits.
You know the funny thing about all of this is that I don’t really think Cedar Rapids needs this money for flood recovery. If there is a real need for additional projects we would know it by now. I think Cedar Rapids really just needs the money to pay for the ongoing expense of its local government.
You see, last April the Iowa League of Cities (liberal group) wanted to increase the cap on the hotel-motel taxes from 7% to 9%. They claimed that those dollars would help communities maintain and improve roads, bridges, city buildings and public transportation. You know, do the same things that I-Jobs is suppose to do.
Yeah, I know.
Anyway, it wasn’t successful, but now Culver is claiming that the tax increase is needed for flood relief project. Sorry Governor, that’s a crock and you know it.
I think its unfortunate that nobody is willing to criticize the city of Cedar Rapids because of the devastating floods of 2008. All I have to say is maybe they wouldn’t need to raise taxes to pay for flood recovery projects had they used all of that I-Jobs money on actual things that would prevent future disasters. Buy hey, why would they want to do something like that?
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