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Message from our Mayor

January 11, 2013
Northern-Sun Print
Christmas and New Years have come and gone and the world didn’t come to an end on December 21 so I hope everyone had a good Holiday Season.  For the first time, we had five grandkids at our house for Christmas which was a lot of fun and to top that off, both of the twins are home after a long stay in Iowa City.  As of this writing, both weigh over 7 1/2 lbs and are doing great. I am going to go a different route on this newsletter and let off a little steam.  All we have heard on the news for the last two months was we will be going over the fiscal cliff if the two political parties don’t get together.  For two months each party said it was the other ones fault for not offering a solution to the debt problems.  In my opinion neither side did a single thing other than point their fingers at each other. The Democrats wanted to raise taxes on the top wage earners and the Republicans wanted no raise at all.  Neither proposal would do much to solve the budget problems.  This dumb farmer knows you cannot keep spending more than you take in year after year.  Our famous leaders kept pointing fingers at each other until Christmas when they all decided to go home or take a family trip to Hawaii.  Is this a surprise to anyone? Also not a surprise, they all came back on December 30 – 31 to magically solve the problem.  What were the major things our Congress and President solved in the last two days of 2012?  For one, they extended the farm bill for another year saying this would help the farmers and make them eligible for counter cyclical payments which amounts to about $20 per acre.  We farmers don’t need it.  The real reason for extending the farms bill was to prevent milk prices from doubling and the big reason was to protect food stamps which are 80% of the farm bill cost.  Secondly, President Obama signed funding for the automatic pay raise for all of Congress.  This is an automatic 5% raise every year and has been in effect for several years.  For the Senators who make $174,000 per year, this is an $8700 per year raise.  This will cost the taxpayers $870,000 per year.  A Senator is paid full salary for life.  If all the Senators live for an average of 20 years after leaving office, that raise will cost the taxpayers $17,400,000 for just this one year commitment and this is an automatic raise that will happen every year. Late at night on December 31, 2012 the House of Representatives received the negotiated bill to prevent going over the fiscal cliff.  It contained several hundred pages and in less than 5 minutes the house passed a bill that put everything off until March 1, 2013 when our government is out of money and will want to raise the debt limit again.  Both parties say they will not give in to the other.  Surprise! I will bet anyone $10 that on February 28, 2013 we will raise the debt limit and then we will start talking about how important the 2014 election will be.  I have already received calls asking for money to help in that election and I have told them NO.  With all the talk on raising taxes on the top wage earners, check your own taxes this next year and see how much more you are paying in Social Security, Medicare and Capital Gains taxes on anything that you cash in or sell.  And that doesn’t count all the hidden taxes in the new health care bill to help pay for it. In my opinion, two things would greatly help in solving these problems.  One is 8 year term limits and two is to require a balanced budget or Congress doesn’t get paid.  One last thing that gripes me on both State and Federal levels is that we as local government are required by law to have an open meeting.  This is good.  If there is more than a quorum of council members or school board members talking amongst themselves, they can be charged with breaking the open meetings law.  With that being said, how can our State and Federal legislators meet in closed door meetings and decided what will happen on the floor before anything comes to a vote? Thank you for letting me rant and rave and blow off steam.  On the plus side, your city council members are very open to any of your concerns about our town and city government.  The council with Lori’s help and the department heads help will be working on our city budget in the near future.  If you have any input or question, please ask any of these people or me.  Our meetings are all open and we welcome visitors.  Thank you!

Keith Sash, Mayor  



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