As a dedicated jazz and blues lover and supporter, I wish to express my sincere thanks and appreciation for the outstanding support the River Cities' Reader provided for the 19th Annual Mississippi Valley Blues Festival held in LeClaire Park in Davenport from July 3 through 5. Your July 2 issue with Shemekia Copeland on the cover and informative interview articles on Shemekia, Bobby Rush, John Mayall, Jody Williams, and Janiva Magness was made available free of charge for readers all over the Quad Cities area and was by far the best coverage of any of the local newspapers.

I wish to also thank you for your support of the Iowa City Jazz Festival held in downtown Iowa City from July 4 through 6. In an earlier issue you included informative articles on some of today's top jazz artists and bands performing at this festival, such as Geri Allen, Don Byron, Charlie Hunter, Ron Miles, Andrew Hill, and the Dirty Dozen Brass Band.

Except for Oil music magazine, which does not exist anymore, the River Cities' Reader is the only newspaper in the Quad Cities that has ever published front-page cover articles on jazz and blues during the 25 years I've lived in the Quad Cities.

In the recent past, jazz and blues articles with photographs, or portraits of artists, on the cover have been published for David Holland, Nnenna Freelon, Kurt Elling, Stefon Harris, and Abbey Lincoln.

Thanks again, River Cities' Reader, for your support of America's sole original art forms - jazz and blues.

Jimmie Jones

State Shifted Cuts to Cities

Senator Iverson, in the article in the Quad-City Times on Sunday, July 6, tried to mislead the public about state spending. Iowa ranks 27th among the states in state and local revenue raised per capita through taxation, according to Governing magazine.

Iverson says his primary duty is balancing the state budget without tax increases, but he obviously does not include increases in property taxes.

Iverson had a budget problem and chose to solve it on the backs of property taxpayers. He cut aid to cities, which forced the cities to cut local services. He also failed to fully fund the state's support for property-tax credits, which places an additional burden on local governments.

He didn't have to make the cuts. The money to live up to his commitments to local property taxpayers was available. But instead of giving the promised money to cities and local taxpayers, he put more than $40 million into the state's reserve accounts.

When Senator Iverson said, "We are a state of 2.8 million people and we have more government than states 10 times our size. It doesn't make sense." He's right on that point: It doesn't make sense, because it's not true. There is only one state that is 10 times larger than Iowa: California. And according to Governing magazine, state and local government in California collects 28 percent more tax revenue per capita than Iowa.

Iverson says he can't count on Democrats to balance the budget. Democrats will vote for a balanced budget but will not vote for Iverson's budget, which shifted costs onto the backs of local property taxpayers.

The House overwhelmingly passed a bipartisan Iowa Values Fund to help grow Iowa's economy. It was a model of cooperation. Then Iverson got hold of the bill and made it partisan by logrolling - trying to force Vilsack to sign anti-worker, anti-consumer legislation by putting it in same bill with the Iowa Values Fund and some property-tax reforms that Vilsack supports.

Now that Vilsack trumped Iverson's little political trick, Iverson is mad and is suing the governor. It's childish but predictable - and again the taxpayers will pay.

Cindy Winckler, State Representative

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