Rod Sullivan, Supervisor, Johnson County, Iowa

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January 22, 2011

Sullivan’s Salvos 1/25/11

In this edition:

*County Tax Rates
*Illinois Raises Income Taxes
*Chamber Ag Breakfast Series
*Bowl For Kids’ Sake
*Did You Know?

*County Tax Rates
The Iowa State Association of Counties (ISAC) is out with county tax rankings for 2010. I think these may be of interest as we move forward in the budgeting process.

Ranking counties on tax rates can get complicated. There are really 3 separate rates to look at:

1.) General Fund Rate: All property owners (even those who live in the cities) pay this rate.

2.) Rural Fund Rate: Only rural property owners pay this rate.

3.) Overall Rate: The combination of the two rates.

So, how does Johnson County compare? Contrary to popular opinion, taxes in Johnson County are quite reasonable, perhaps even low.

1.) General Fund: 28 counties are higher than Johnson County’s $7.38 per thousand in valuation; 70 are lower.

2.) Rural Fund: 84 counties are higher than Johnson County’s $2.57 per thousand in valuation; 14 are lower.

3.) Overall Rate: 58 counties are higher than Johnson County’s $9.96 per thousand in valuation; 40 are lower.

I am very satisfied with our current rankings. I feel that Johnson County does an excellent job of balancing the needs and wants of county residents with the taxes we assess. What are your thoughts?

*Illinois Raises Income Taxes
Fortunately, Iowa has a balanced budget. Unfortunately, Iowa is one of only a handful of states in that situation. Immediately to our east, Illinois is facing a $15 billion budget shortfall.

While New York, California, and other states struggle to find politically acceptable ways to address their budgetary issues, Illinois simply did the courageous and correct thing.

Illinois increased state income taxes on top earners from 3-5%. This will generate about $7 billion dollars, thus halving the budget deficit.

Most economists (and most reasonable people) agree that there are only two ways to address a budget shortfall: increase revenues and decrease expenditures. Similarly, most economists (and most reasonable people) agree that the fairest way to address a budget shortfall is through a combination of both approaches.

That is precisely what Illinois plans to do. Half of the deficit is addressed through revenue; now the other half will need to be addressed through cuts. When politicians speak of “shared sacrifice”, well, that is precisely what Illinois is doing.

I can assure you, $7 billion in cuts will affect public services. The cuts that remain will hurt. The cuts they STILL need to make will affect elementary and secondary students, colleges and universities, poor children, people with disabilities, seniors, and many other vulnerable groups. To balance the budget only through cuts would have been draconian, and unfair to the poorest residents.

Additionally, Illinois raised the INCOME tax, meaning they chose the most progressive method available to them. Under this plan, those best able to pay more will do so.

It obviously took several years of bad choices to create the situation in Illinois; it will not likely be fixed quickly. Moving forward, it is great to see Illinois exhibiting such courage and correct thinking.

*Chamber Ag Breakfast Series
The 2011 Chamber Agribusiness/Bioscience Breakfast Series begins this Friday morning with the theme “It’s Easy Being Green!”

Breakfast programs are held from 7:30 - 8:30 a.m. on the fourth Friday of the month, January – March at Hills Bank and Trust Company, Coralville Office. Cost is $10 for members/$12 for future members.

Session 1 is January 28, and features ORGANICS: A GREENER WAY TO GROW.

Panelists: Theresa Carbrey, New Pioneer Co-op; Jason Grimm, Iowa Valley Resource Conservation and Development; Joanna Mouming, Kalona Organics; and Marty Pitsulka, United Natural Foods, Inc.

Topics include: Kalona Organics recently launched brand, Kalona Supernatural, which features products that come largely from small, Amish / Mennonite family farms.

The Iowa Valley Resource Conservation & Development (RC&D) Regional Food Initiative, I-Food group, which supports organic farmers, access to organic food and access to resources and training for organic farm production.

United Natural Food, Inc.'s role in the organic industry as the leading U.S. independent national distributor of natural, organic and specialty foods and related products including nutritional supplements, personal care items and organic produce.

For more info on the series, call the Chamber at 337-9637.

*Bowl For Kids’ Sake
Big Brothers Big Sisters is once again holding Bowl For Kids Sake! This is the single biggest fundraiser of the year for BBBS, supporting all their good work. The event this year is February 26 & 27 at Colonial Lanes.

Sullivan for Supervisor will once again be fielding a team, and we would LOVE you to sponsor us! You can let me know via E-mail, or visit Big Brothers Big Sisters online at

If you’d rather form your own team, there is still time! Call BBBS at 337-2145 to reserve your spot.

*DID YOU KNOW? Mississippi is the state closest to Iowa in population. (Source: US Census Bureau.)

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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