Rod Sullivan, Supervisor, Johnson County, Iowa

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April 2, 2011

Sullivan’s Salvos 4/5/11

In this edition:

*Happy Birthday, Jordan!
*Play Ball!
*Pancake Day
*Energy Usage
*Iowa Taxes Are Low!
*Your Favorite Book?
*Did You Know?

*Happy Birthday, Jordan!
Happy 17th birthday to my daughter Jordan. Jordan is a smart, beautiful, tough, resilient, responsible young lady with a good head on her shoulders. She has grown into a wonderful young lady, and I am awfully proud of her!

Happy birthday, Jordan! I love you!

*Play Ball!
Opening Day is upon us! Spring has arrived, and hope springs eternal. Yes, I am one of those folks who romanticize baseball!

*Pancake Day
Supporters of athletics at West & City Highs: Pancake Day is Saturday, April 9 from 6:30 AM to 6:30 PM at West High School. Tickets are $5 each, with children 5 and under free. This is the second biggest fundraiser for athletics in the ICCSD. Please show your support!

*Energy Usage
I attended an interesting session on the environment recently, and the following statistics really stuck with me.

The total energy used in the world breaks down something like this: Oil 40%, Coal 23%, Natural Gas 21%, Nuclear 6%, Hydro 4%, Wind 2%, Solar 2%, Wood 2%.

There is so much here that is amazing! First, I was surprised to see oil so far ahead of coal. This really illustrates the amount of energy that goes into moving people and goods.

I was also surprised to see how much natural gas is used. This reflects the recent increases in the US, but is primarily a result of the huge usage in Russia, China, India, and the rest of Asia.

The most shocking and disappointing fact is that wind and solar – which are zero carbon and quickly renewable – are used in the same amounts as wood! Wood, for cryin’ out loud! Worldwide, we have a LONG way to go if we hope to reach any type of sustainability!

Iowa Taxes Are Low!
Iowa state and local taxes rank below the national average, Census data show.

Peter Fisher, research director of the Iowa Policy Project, said the findings confirm trends that have been building for several years. "We often note Iowa is in the middle of the pack on taxes, contrary to the claims of those who want to keep cutting taxes further. Iowa state and local taxes actually are below the national average for states and Iowa ranks in the bottom half of states,“ Fisher said.

Fisher said the best way to compare tax levels between states is to measure taxes collected as a percentage of personal income. On that measure, the study notes, total state and local taxes in Iowa in Fiscal Year 2008 (latest data available) were 10.4 percent of income — half a point below the national average — ranking Iowa 26th among all states. In the region, the report found all but two states had taxes higher than Iowa, with Wisconsin topping the nine-state region at 11.6 percent, followed by Minnesota (11.1), Kansas (10.9), Nebraska (10.7), Illinois (10.6) and Indiana (10.5). Iowa was next at 10.4 percent, followed by Missouri (9.3) and South Dakota (8.1). 

The Iowa Fiscal Partnership is a joint public policy analysis initiative of two Iowa-based, nonpartisan, nonprofit organizations: The Iowa Policy Project in Iowa City and the Child & Family Policy Center in Des Moines. IFP reports are at 

*Your Favorite Book?
I have had the privilege of serving on the Board of the UNESCO City Of Literature since its inception. One of the best parts of being on this Board is the opportunity to discuss what people enjoy reading.

The City of Literature designation is certainly due to the presence of the UI Writer’s Workshop and UI International Writing Program, but there are other factors that are less discussed but also important.

The fantastic libraries and booksellers we have are also a key component, as are the citizens who do all the reading. Our literate citizenry played a big part in the UNESCO designation.

So, citizens… I would like to run a short and decidedly unscientific poll of Salvos readers. What is your favorite book? If a few titles outpoll all the rest, I’ll let readers know.

Personally, I have to divide it into genres. I read a lot as a child. Add that to being a father of three and a foster parent, and I have to acknowledge children’s lit separately.

People who know me well know that I could be described as a softy, a hopeless romantic, a sap – choose your term. This side of me is demonstrated in my favorite children’s book – “I’ll Love You Forever” by Robert Munsch. I can hardly get through it without tearing up!

My favorite work of fiction is “A Confederacy of Dunces” by John Kennedy Toole. I love a book that makes you laugh out loud!

So – how about you, Salvos readers? What are your favorites?

*DID YOU KNOW? 58 Iowa counties have a tax rate higher than Johnson County’s $9.96 per thousand in valuation; 40 counties are lower.

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.

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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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