Governor Tom Vilsack says he’s hearing from “regular” Iowans this week as he conducts his annual, week-long walking tour through small town Iowa. Vilsack says folks are talking to him about the economic stimulus package that passed the legislature last week that creates a new five-hundred million dollar economic development fund and cuts income taxes. But Vilsack says folks wait ’til after a town meeting’s over to share their opinions privately. Eighty-three-year-old Harold Beyer of Sully attended Vilsack’s town meeting in Sully yesterday, and Beyer is a bit worried about the 310-million dollar income tax cut included in the package.Beyer wonders how the state can cut taxes and meet its financial obligations. He says the focus should be on getting people back to work so they can pay income tax. But Bill Zylstra, also of Sully, has no reservations. Zylstra says Vilsack should sign the bill because a majority of the legislature decided that’s what should be in the bill. Jack Gray of Sully, pastor of the Sully Christian Reformed Church, didn’t have an opinion to share on the economic stimulus package. Gray says he’s only read about the bill in the media, and isn’t sure that’s an “accurate representation” of the package. Another pastor in Sully — at the same church — stood up during a community forum with the Governor and urged Vilsack to do whatever he could to protect the unborn. Pastor Roger Punt says he thinks the Governor would have no trouble telling him he has to stop at a stop sign, but has some problem telling a woman she doesn’t have a choice as to whether to let her unborn son or daughter live. Punt also urged Vilsack to do whatever he could to protect the sanctity of marriage, and Punt expressed concerns about the push for gay rights. During his first term, Vilsack signed a bill that says the state only gives legal recognition to a marriage between a man and a woman.Punt says he knows there’s pressure on the Governor and legislators to redefine the family. Vilsack told Punt he hoped the passions of those on both sides of the abortion and gay rights issues could refocus their energies and find compromise solutions to the vexing problems.
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