Rod Sullivan, Supervisor, Johnson County, Iowa

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August 14, 2010

Sullivan’s Salvos 8/17/10

In this edition:

*Special Birthdays
*School Starts
*Teachers Rock!
*Lone Tree Fall Festival
*Good News in Iowa!
*Estate Taxes
*Did You Know?

*Special Birthdays
August is a very special time around my house, as both Melissa (the 17th) and BJ (the 22nd) celebrate their birthdays.

2010 has not been the easiest of years. Several things have been difficult for our family. Yet when I stop to think about my wonderful wife and amazing son, I am reminded that I am a very, very lucky man! I cannot imagine life without these two special people.

Happy birthday, Honey! I love you! Happy birthday, Beej! You are the best!

*School Starts
Hard to believe, but schools are starting once again in Johnson County. CCA begins on the 18th. The ICCSD and College Community get underway on the 19th. The UI, Kirkwood, and Lone Tree start classes on the 23rd. Mid-Prairie kicks off on the 24th. Solon jumps in on the 25th.

On a personal note, I will have children at City (Jordan in 11th grade) and Southeast (BJ in 8th). I am pleased to say that the vast majority of our educational experiences have been outstanding. I look forward to more of the same this year!

Whether you have kids or not, back to school has an impact on us all. You remember the drill. Drive a bit slower and more carefully. Allow a bit more time. And take just a moment to savor the great system of public education we all enjoy.

*Teachers Rock!
As school begins once again, the timing seems appropriate to thank all the wonderful teachers out there for all their hard work.

It makes me sick when people complain about teacher compensation. Despite having summers off, teachers work roughly the same number of hours as private sector employees. Their pay is relatively low given their level of education. They do not have flexible schedules.

Most significantly? They do THE MOST VITAL JOB there is! No job has bigger consequences. No job is more important. Period.

My 3 children have had somewhere in the neighborhood of 75-100 teachers (unduplicated count) in their years in the ICCSD. 85% of those teachers have been fantastic, and over 10% have been good.

I am tired of teachers being unfairly criticized! Teachers, please consider this the electronic equivalent of a big hug! Best of luck in the new school year!

*Lone Tree Fall Festival
The last of our summer festivals runs this Friday-Saturday in Lone Tree, as they celebrate the annual Fall Festival.

There are lots of fun events going on; too many to list here! For the full schedule, see:

*Good News in Iowa!
Health reform is having an impact in Iowa! As Iowa Fiscal Partnership researchers show in two new reports:
1. About 60,000 more children are covered by public health insurance in 2010 than were covered just three years before, thanks to improvements in Medicaid and the Iowa children's health plan, known as "hawk-i."
2. Over 50,000 small businesses in Iowa alone may be eligible for tax credits that could help them provide health insurance for their employees, due to immediate effects of the new health reform law.

To see either or both reports in detail, visit the Iowa Fiscal Partnership website at

*Estate Taxes
As part of the 2001 Bush tax cuts, the top tax rate on estates was reduced from 55% to 45%, and the maximum individual exemption was increased from $675,000 to $3.5 million. This has contributed mightily to the budget deficit that currently faces the US.

That is not all. There is NO estate tax at all this year! If Congress does nothing, the top rate will be back at 55% next year, with a maximum individual exemption of $1 million. (I would go even farther and advocate for 90% and $500,000, but that is just me.)

Needless to say, Congress is under significant pressure from the wealthy to do a permanent repeal. This would be a HUGE mistake! We need to fund our government and balance our budget. The estate tax moves us in that direction.

Even if the taxes are reinstated, most estates would still pay no taxes at all. Less than one fourth of one percent (25 out of 1000) of all estates nationwide would owe. There are many myths out there about farmers unable to pass on the farm due to estate taxes, but Iowa State University found NO cases of this. That is correct – ZERO. It is all a lie. It is all made up.

In addition, most of the income that makes up these estates has NEVER been taxed. This is because the estates consist of unrealized capital gains. Income has been earned for years, but it has never been taxed. Wouldn’t you enjoy the opportunity to skip out on your income taxes?

Estate taxes are an important part of a progressive system of taxation. Estate taxes are the most fair and painless way to fund our government and reduce our deficit. We need more estate taxes, not less!

*DID YOU KNOW? Johnson County has 515 individual insurance contracts; 202 single and 313 family health plans.

Anyone interested in learning more about County government should take a look at the County website-

"Sullivan’s Salvos" is sent once per week to any interested party. It will give a brief update on issues of interest to Johnson County residents.

These messages come solely from Rod Sullivan, and neither represents the viewpoints of the whole Board of Supervisors nor those of groups or individuals otherwise mentioned.

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As always, feel free to contact me at 354-7199 or I look forward to serving you!



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