Democrats & Republicans divided over election rule changes proposed in Iowa

4 The Record

Early voting and ballot dropoff location would be reduced

Widespread power outages in the south could be the canary in a coal mine for a larger issue, Iowa state lawmakers consider legislation critics say would put more limits on voting and Illinois’ governor presents a budget to cut spending and corporate tax loopholes.

All things we talked about this week on 4 The Record with Democratic political consultant Porter McNeil and former Iowa State Representative David Millage.

Illinois budget

Illinois Governor JB Pritzker delivered his third budget address on Wednesday.

The state’s finances remain in crisis with a multi-billion dollar shortfall.

Here are some highlights of the $41.6 billion spending plan:

  • The state faces a $2.6 billion shortfall.
  • No individual income tax increase as was threatened after the constitutional amendment failed in November.
  • Pritzker’s plan would save $932 million by reducing or eliminating some business tax breaks and cut $700 million in spending for state agencies.
  • He also would shift revenue currently dedicated to specific programs to the state’s general fund.

Pritzker’s plan prevents big cuts in services. Business interests slam the corporate tax policy.

The governor hammered Republicans for trying to block federal assistance intended to offset revenue losses and suggested for months the pain would be spread around in this budget.

McNeil and MIllage addressed if he spread it around evenly.

Iowa voters

Iowa could see stricter election laws under a new bill pushed by Republicans.

It cleared a state Senate subcommittee this week.

Drop boxes for absentee or mail-in ballots would be limited to one per county.

It would be illegal for someone’s ballot to be dropped off by a neighbor, friend or relative and early voting days would be reduced from 29 to 18.

Republicans hold onto their argument it’s to counter election fraud despite claims of widespread fraud thrown out of court and rejected by state election officials.

There are some more severe proposals in other states — Arizona for one.

Millage and McNeil discussed what effect a measure like this has on democracy and voter participation.

Texas power

This week’s winter storm that broke records in Texas knocked out power to millions in the Lone Star State.

It highlighted that Texas is not on the national electric grid.

This crisis shows the country’s electric infrastructure is not able to handle sharp climate-related increased in demand for energy.

Texas doesn’t have energy in storage.

McNeil and Millage measured how much does this event highlights the need for a national and diverse energy policy.

Question of the week

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