Rod Sullivan, Supervisor, Johnson County, Iowa

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February 5, 2011

Sullivan’s Salvos 2/1/11

In this edition:

*County Budget
*Black History Month
*DVIP Souper Bowl
*Whose Fault Was That, Again?
*Did You Know?

*County Budget
The Board of Supervisors is putting the finishing touches on the FY11 County budget. The process is not complete until a few more steps are concluded: our Budget Coordinator fills out the State form, the proposed budget is published, a public hearing is held, and a formal vote is taken. That whole process takes a little over one month.

A few of the details: The proposal is for taxes to go up 1.8% on residential property. That amounts to an annual increase of $6.00 per $100,000 valuation. In other words, if you have a mortgage on a $150,000 house, your taxes would go up 75 cents per month. (Disclaimer: individual taxes depend upon MANY individual factors! We are discussing averages.)

I made an analogy during the budgeting process that I feel is worth sharing, because it sums up my philosophy toward budgeting.

I compare it to buying a car. You don’t usually buy the very cheapest car you possibly can. If you spend, say, only $500 on a car, you will likely spend more in other ways. You’ll spend more on maintenance, fuel, repairs, and when it isn’t working, you’ll pay for the inconvenience. So the most inexpensive is not necessarily the cheapest.

Similarly, a BMW might be the most reliable vehicle you could purchase, but you may get 95% of that reliability from a car that costs half the price. So the most expensive is not necessarily the best investment.

I take this same approach toward the budget. I believe in doing things right, and I believe you get what you pay for. We could have raised taxes less, but we would be reducing our services and/or our reserves to a level that makes me uncomfortable. Along the same lines, we could have raised taxes more, but the things we would have been buying seemed to be wants as opposed to needs.

I will write more about some specific budget highlights in future editions of Salvos.

Personally, I am pretty happy with this budget. It maintains services and reserve balances while minimizing tax increases. I hope the budget will have the support of all 5 Supervisors.

Please feel free to E-mail me if you have budget questions, comments, or concerns.

*Black History Month
February is Black History Month. I often wish that there was no need for a Black History Month – instead, black history would be a robust part of the history that is already taught in our schools.

The fact is, we all need a reminder of the amazing history of African Americans. I am planning on doing some reading on Little Rock and Brown versus the Board of Education. What will you be doing?

*DVIP Souper Bowl
The Domestic Violence Intervention Program (DVIP) is holding its 14th annual Souper Bowl, a dinner to support services for victims of domestic violence. Area restaurants, antique dealers, and artisans are donating their best soup, bread and bowls.

Join us at the Clarion Highlander Hotel Thursday, 2/3/11 from 5:30-7:30 PM. Tickets are $20.00 at the door. Don’t forget—with the purchase of a ticket you get to take home the bowl of your choice! Kids eat free (unless they want to take home a bowl)!

Come enjoy wonderful music and a great meal with your friends, while supporting the good work of DVIP!

*Whose Fault Was That, Again?
A funny thing happened on the way to 2011…remember the financial crisis of 2008? Big banks and Wall Street almost collapsed, and government came to the rescue.

Fast-forward 3 years, and Wall Street barons are overburdened. Government spending (much of it bailing out business) is the problem du jour. Somehow, the failure of unregulated capitalism turned into a crisis for government.

Cops, firefighters, teachers, Medicare and Medicaid recipients, etc. did not cause the financial crisis. Wall Street excesses that went unregulated caused the financial crisis. So why is the GOP intent on making government pay the price for capitalism’s failures?

It is unbelievable that in order to get support for benefits for the unemployed, our government feels the need to bribe the people who laid them off. That is the bargain that was recently struck, showering the wealthiest Americans with tax breaks just so needy Americans could keep their homes.

Listen to some of the new GOP governors: “We can no longer live in a society where the public employees are the haves and taxpayers who foot the bills are the have-nots,” says Scott Walker of Wisconsin. Really? If Mr. Walker REALLY cares about the “haves and have-nots”, then by all means, go for it! Use actual data, and take your pound of flesh from the haves! Of course, actual data will show Walker that very few public employees are in the top 2% of earners.

Of all the new GOP governors, John Kasich of Ohio appears to be planning the most comprehensive assault against unions. Kasich proposes to take away the right of 14,000 state-financed childcare and home care workers to unionize. If these state-funded jobs are so cushy, and these workers are the “haves”, why would they be unionizing?

You are about to be subjected to two years of “concern” over the deficit and the economy. Do not believe it. There is but one concern: largess for the wealthy. Everything the federal government does is designed with largess for the wealthy as a key priority.

*DID YOU KNOW? During the US Civil war, 200,000 blacks served in the Union Army; 38,000 gave their lives; 22 won the Medal of Honor.

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

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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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