Ernst Notes: Flooding on the Missouri and where to find help

Guest Editorial - Joni Ernst

Iowa really is a very beautiful state.  The rolling green pastures, the neatly planted rows of crops, the twisting rivers and creeks, the gorgeous blue sky.  The older I get, the more I realize how beautiful Iowa is.

Our springtime is a time of hope, growth, and anticipation.  We hope for weather that cooperates with our planting needs. We pray the crops that push through the soil will be strong and fruitful.  We anticipate a harvest that will provide for our families until we begin the process once more next spring.  Regardless of whether we are Iowa farmers, small business owners, factory workers, or retirees, we all experience the beauty and bounty our state offers.

But it seems unfailingly that amidst great beauty, we can also find ugliness.  Our small community of Lenox was devastated by not one, but two tornadoes last month.  Residents sought shelter and prayed to be spared.  In a matter of minutes, this quiet town was littered with debris from buildings, homes, and uprooted trees.

This month six of our western counties are being subjected to the brown, muddy flood waters of the raging Missouri River.  

Homes, businesses, and farms are covered by the ever increasing flood of water.  Communities are rushing to stop levee breaches and sandbag critical infrastructure in valiant attempts to keep the pressing water out.  The water is not anticipated to withdraw until August.

It is ugly. But it is our Iowa, our communities, our homes.  And in spite of the ugliness, we still have hope, growth, and anticipation.  

We hope the grief of today can be put behind us and tomorrow will be a better day.  We grow in our respect for those who lend a helping hand to those that need it in times of great loss.  We anticipate stronger communities and families as we learn from these events – what makes Iowans strong, what makes Iowans survivors, what makes Iowans pick up the pieces after great tragedy.

Iowans are not born strong, but we are taught to be strong.  Taught to be self-reliant.  Taught to care for our neighbors.  

These are wonderful qualities that set us apart from other states of our nation. Those states could learn from us.

I have no doubt the debris will be cleared away, rebuilding will take place, and we will pull through.  And I have no doubt that Iowa’s beauty will return.   

Another thing I have realized as I have gotten older is that perhaps Iowa’s beauty doesn’t lay in her physical attributes, but in her people…

Businesses in Disaster Areas Get Tax Deadline Extension

Because businesses in the flood disaster areas have been affected, Iowa Department of Revenue Director Courtney Kay-Decker has granted an extension of time for affected taxpayers to file the quarterly Iowa sales/use tax and withholding returns for the period ending on June 30. Those returns are normally due on July 31, but can now be filed by Oct. 31 without penalty or interest.  

The Director of the Iowa Department of Revenue is authorized by law to extend the period of time for filing tax returns and to suspend any penalty or interest associated with those returns for taxpayers whose principal residence or business is located in a disaster area declared by the governor. The following six counties bordering the Missouri River have been declared to be disaster areas: Fremont, Harrison, Mills, Monona, Pottawattamie, and Woodbury.

For more information, please contact the Iowa Department of Revenue at or call 515-281-3114 or 1-800-367-3388 (Iowa, Omaha, Rock Island, Moline) 8 a.m. - 4:15 p.m. CT.

Business at the Capitol:  The Session Continues

After numerous weeks of inactivity, the Senate is idly watching the current fiscal year slip away.  

And yet we still have not come to terms on a budget for the next fiscal year, which begins July 1.

I believe I was elected to help control spending, promote private sector job creation, reduce taxes and get Iowa’s fiscal house in order.  Senate Republicans remain firmly committed to these goals and priorities.  

I am hopeful that we will reach a consensus with the Senate Democrats that will meet the needs of Iowans in a balanced and fiscally responsible manner, but we will not reach an agreement or pass a budget until the Senate Majority Leader brings us back to the Senate floor for action.  No action in the Senate means no budget.  Iowans deserve better!

I continue to appreciate your support and as always, I welcome your questions and concerns regarding any issue.  Please contact me using any of the information below.

You can follow me on Facebook for updates, just “like” Ernst for State Senate or visit my website at!

The Red Oak Express

2012 Commerce Drive
P.O. Box 377
Red Oak, IA 51566
Phone: 712-623-2566 Fax: 712-623-2568

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