The members of the commission appointed by the governor to oversee the rebuilding of the state following the flooding and tornadoes says the legislature should return for a special session to address the issue. While the group is still preparing its final report that’s due in September, Cedar Rapids Rebuild Iowa commission member Carroll Reasoner says the legislature cannot wait until January to act.
"I think its very important to send a message to all the citizens of the state who have been devastated, that the state cares, that the needs are there and we need to give them some hope that there’s some creative help coming their direction. I don’t know what all the answers are, but I think they need to know that there is some hope coming," Reasoner says.
Reasoner says the legislature cannot wait until January to release economic development money for damaged businesses.
Reasoner says there is money in the Iowa Values Fund, but they’ve been told there are restrictions on the money so it can’t be used for flood redevelopment without certain restrictions that the communities can’t meet. She says the legislature needs to come back and remove the restrictions.
Some are worried about the cost of a special legislative session — which is about $48,000 a day– but Reasoner says that shouldn’t be a major concern. She says that would be a minimal cost compared to the billions of dollars in damage done to the state.
Reasoner says it "sends a terrible message to the citizens" if legislators are more worried about the cost of a special session than they "about the citizens and their needs." Reasoner says legislators would have to get right to work on the flood issues in January, and that would take up their time and things could then not be done until April. "the need is immediate, it is now, and it’s not going to get better with time," Reasoner says.
The 15-member panel wraps up a two-day meeting in Des Moines today as they draft recommendations for the final report.