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Moving Cedar Falls AND Iowa Forward

Iowa is a great place to live, and keeping it great requires initiative, fresh thinking, and a willingness to be bold. I ran for city council in 2009 promising those attributes and since that time, have absorbed countless experiences that have honed my perspective, leadership style, and effectiveness.  And now, I set my civic energy on State House #59. My Grow Iowa! platform will make Iowa a magnet state in the nation for people, business and quality of life. I'm eager to represent the citizens of Cedar Falls and to dutifully guide our city's and state's future on Council and in the State House.

Transparency and excessive communication are my priorities. My recent blog posts:

  • Featured post

    Iowa Water Quality - Conservation Credit Program

    IA_Buffers.jpgIowa watersheds often absorb or transmit excess sediment and nutrients (nitrogen and phosphorous) from farm origins which impairs watershed ecology, recreational health, drinking supplies, and ultimately the Gulf health. The problem illustrates the tragedy of the commons where these external costs are not captured in the cost of production* - other parties indirectly pay the price (i.e. Des Moines Water Works, recreational rivers users, Gulf fishermen). The Governor proposed using SAVE (local option sales tax currently used for education) to fund nearly $4.7 billion of mitigation expense, in effect, creating a consumer-funded mitigation solution to a farm problem. The Governor recognizes and sizes the problem, but fails in offering a fair and equitable solution. Urbanites (Cedar Falls citizens) already pay their fair burden through local property tax to fund waste water treatment, often called urban point source. This is a farm problem that calls for a farm solution. Simply stated, our goal should be to reduce agricultural nutrient and soil loss to natural occurrence by coupling best conservation practices and appropriate incentives.

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    Make Iowa #1 in Education, again

    EDU1_(1).pngMake Iowa #1 in Education

    If Iowa is going to be a growth state, we must differentiate our offerings among our peers. There was a time when Iowa education ranked #1 in the nation (when I graduated 1995!). It was a source of pride, a badge of honor, it attracted families and business. Today, however, we have fallen off the podium and are relegated to the middle of the pack. We need to perform triage on our current status and develop a non-partisan plan to restore our #1 status as a differentiator, as a competitive advantage, as a building block for an unknown future.

    My state-level education priorities:

    1. Fix the Allowable Growth Debate
    2. Restore Local Control
    3. Fund the Student
    4. Elevate UNI Educational Leadership

     

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    Leader in Business

    Champion.jpgWhen a politician uses phrases like 'job creation' and 'improve our economy', ask for their credentials to speak on the topic. Heck, ask what they know about economics, capital markets, and workforce development. Ask them if they have worked with local, state or foreign governments to establish or grow businesses. In my professional life, I build businesses for CPM Holdings and wear many hats. One day, I might be closing a multi-national acquisition. Every day, I make at least one pot of coffee. I know business.

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    Nick Taiber Launches his 'Grow Iowa!' Campaign for Iowa House District 59

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    Nick Taiber recently unveiled his Grow Iowa! campaign for Iowa House District 59. Since 2010, he has served on Cedar Falls City Council driving reorganization, budget restraint, infrastructure investments and civil liberty issues. Nick is in a unique position to leverage his business, council and civic insights to make Iowa a magnet state for residents, business and quality of life.

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    Choice Rider Experience - MET Bus

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    I abhor driving, it is drudgery. But it just so happens that my two boys, Julian and Roman, really like soccer and hockey. By and large, these programs are run out of Waterloo's excellent Young Arena and Sportsplex facilities. In our just-in-time society, that means driving. Couple the drive with the maze of one-way couplets, pointless four-way stops, and endless traffic signals in downtown Waterloo, it is the stuff of road rage. There must be a better way. Enter MET transit.

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    Balanced Incentives

    CF_Sign.JPGBalanced Incentives: my next musings on Cedar Falls Business First (still looking for a better name). In this post, I want to refocus our incentives to support a broad-based approach to business creation, incubation and attraction. Grab a cup of coffee, energy drink or cocktail and let's sort this out together.

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    The Old Economic Development Toolbox: TIF

    Picture1.pngThis post is a TIF primer (CF's main economic development tool): free land (and infrastructure) and tax abatement. I have reservations about TIF. Reluctantly, most Iowa city's must play the game to level the field. An incentive ceases to be when it becomes an entitlement. 

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    Cedar Falls Business First

    startup_communities.pngAs policy makers, Cedar Falls City Council is tasked to create a business environment that fosters job creation, innovation and wealth creation. To grow our economic base beyond incremental ‘brick and mortar’ wins, we need to set our efforts on organic, new business based on innovation, productivity and Midwestern ingenuity.

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    Beyond Benign - Local Regulations and Business

    govtregs.jpgCedar Falls' code of ordinances has evolved over the decades to continuously refine what an individual or entity (business or otherwise) can and cannot do. At all levels of government, it is rarely reviewed for effectiveness or relevance - especially business regulations.

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