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Open letter to readers: Today and tomorrow

By Lynda Waddington | 11.17.11

Wednesday was a difficult day for The American Independent News Network, which is the larger entity that operates The Iowa Independent. Our chief executive and founder announced two of our sister sites would close and their content would be moved to The American Independent.

ACS lockout continues; plan emerges to repeal sugar protections

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By Virginia Chamlee | 11.15.11

A recently introduced bill could have far-reaching impact on the U.S. sugar industry, including American Crystal Sugar, a farmer-owned cooperative that locked out 1,300 Midwest workers on Aug. 1.

Cain campaign: Farmers know more about regulations than EPA

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By Andrew Duffelmeyer | 11.15.11

The chairman for Herman Cain’s Iowa effort says the campaign “relied more on the word of farmers than Washington regulators” in deciding to run an ad containing claims the Environmental Protection Agency says are false.

Mathis wins, Democrats maintain Senate control

Liz Mathis
By Lynda Waddington | 11.08.11

The Iowa Senate will remain under the control of a slim 26-25 Democratic majority when it reconvenes in January 2012.

Press Release

PR: Nation should work to address veterans’ challenges

By Press Release Reprints | 11.11.11

BRUCE BRALEY RELEASE — As US involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan ends, it’s more important than ever that our nation works to address the challenges faced by the men and women who fought there.

PR: Honoring veterans, help in hiring

By Press Release Reprints | 11.11.11

CHUCK GRASSLEY RELEASE — A difficult job market is challenging the soldiers, sailors and airmen who have protected America’s interests by serving in the Armed Forces.

PR: In honor of America’s veterans

By Press Release Reprints | 11.11.11

TOM LATHAM RELEASE — No one has done more to secure the freedom enjoyed by every single American than our veterans and those currently serving in the armed services.

PR: Honoring and supporting our nation’s veterans

By Press Release Reprints | 11.11.11

DAVE LOEBSACK RELEASE — Veterans Day is an opportunity to reflect on the service of generations of veterans and to honor the sacrifices they and their families have made so that we may live in peace and freedom here at home.

Filmmakers speak out in favor of tax credit

By Jason Hancock | 09.21.09 | 9:05 am

The Iowa Motion Picture Association (IMPA) plans to formally address the growing controversy surrounding film tax credits Monday afternoon at a press conference, with the hope of saving the program from being permanently suspended.

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Last week allegations of misconduct surrounding a state tax-credit program for filmmaking led Gov. Culver to suspend the program.

The allegations also caused the director of the Iowa Department of Economic Development, Mike Tramontina, to resign and the state’s film manager, Tom Wheeler, to be placed on paid administrative leave.

“I am very troubled by information very recently received by our office that there have been insufficient procedures in place to assure a full and accurate accounting of expenditures made to enable persons to qualify for tax credits under the program,” Culver said in a statement. “Therefore, until all reasonable questions about the administration of this program are answered, I ask that no further schedules of qualified expenditures be approved nor any further tax credit certificates be issued.”

The IMPA says it agrees that a full audit of the program and new accounting procedures is an appropriate course of action. But suspending the program during the audit is not an appropriate step.

“This is just the second full year of the production incentives and the program is just getting off the ground,” Tammy Shutters, the IMPA’s program director, said in a statement. “There are many films currently in production and planning for production int the state later this year, and by suspending the production incentives the state jeopardizes putting more Iowans out of work while we are facing the highest state unemployment since 1986; as well as discouraging potential future productions from considering Iowa. It simply does not make sense.”

The group points out that as of this week there are three productions shooting in Des Moines, another in Council Bluffs and multiple casting calls and scouting trips.

Supporters of the program say the money filmmakers spend in Iowa to in order to get the tax credits has had a far reaching effect through the economy, ranging from increase spending at local restaurants to work for carpenters and actors. The Des Moines Film Commission says there has been an increase of 16,000-hotel room rentals attributed to filmmakers in the Des Moines area alone.

According to a memo from Tramontana to the governor’s staff, in the two years the tax credit has been available, 20 film projects have been awarded $31 million in credits.

An internal audit of the program found that credits were used to purchase luxury vehicles (a Mercedes and a Land Rover) that were not used directly on the film and the amount of credits claimed was the full purchase price rather than the lease cost during the project. The audit found numerous irregularities, ranging from substandard reporting of how credits were used to using venders who reside outside of Iowa.

The IMPA will formally speak out in favor of the tax credit program Monday at 1 p.m. at the Des Moines Social Club, 1408 Locust St. in downtown Des Moines.

Follow Jason Hancock on Twitter


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