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2017 Legislative session to a close last week
by Liz Mathis State Senator · April 27th, 2017
The last day of the session, last Friday, I looked around the State Capitol and stood in awe of the grandeur and thought about the responsibility you have given me to represent you as State Senator. The 2017 session has been tough, because of the finger-pointing, budget cuts and polarized views on so many topics. Please remember this: I will always work for you, no matter if I am in the Majority or Minority, to do what's best for our community.

Can you free yourself of some investment-related taxes?
by Submitted By John A. Westfall · April 27th, 2017
Tax Freedom Day generally falls around this time each year. This is the day when the nation as a whole has earned enough money to pay off its total tax bill for the year, according to the calculations made by the Tax Foundation. So you may want to use Tax Freedom Day to think about ways you can liberate yourself from some of the investment-related taxes you may incur.

How Medicare covers therapy services
by Report submitted · April 27th, 2017
Dear Savvy Senior,
Can you explain how Medicare covers physical therapy services? I'm a new beneficiary, and would like to get some treatments for my back.
Need Help

Be an "Environmentally Friendly" investor
by Submitted By John A. Westfall · April 20th, 2017
On April 22, we observe Earth Day, a worldwide event focusing on protecting the environment. As a citizen of this planet, you may want to take part in Earth Day activities. And as an investor, you can learn some valuable lessons from the environmental movement.

Fly the friendly skies of United - ladies and gents, this is going to get bumpy
by Dan Brawner Times Columnist · April 20th, 2017
Last Monday, United Airlines Flight 3411 from Chicago to Louisville was overbooked and four passengers were asked to take a later flight. No one wanted to, so United picked four "volunteers." Three accepted the $800 in compensation, but one passenger refused. The 69-year-old Asian physician explained he could not give up his seat because he had to see patients in Louisville the next morning. United politely asked him to reconsider, then called in three Chicago cops who dragged him off the plane, banging his head on an armrest, leaving him unconscious and bleeding from the mouth. The other passengers screamed, children cried, and, yes, somebody recorded the whole thing on video and distributed it to every major news network.

Improving road safety for all Iowans
by Ken Rizer State Representative · April 20th, 2017
I've received countless emails, texts and phone calls this session about doing more to make our roads safe. This is in response to a major spike in the number of Iowa traffic fatalities both last year and this year, many of which were related to distracted as well as drunk driving. Two specific bills, requested by and supported by law enforcement, passed recently and will help make Iowa's roads safer for drivers and passengers alike.

Legislature tackles electronic harassment
by Liz Mathis State Senator · April 20th, 2017
Posting explicit photos has become a disconcertingly common way of humiliating, manipulating and bullying people.

What you can do with cremated ashes
by Report submitted · April 20th, 2017
Dear Savvy Senior,
When my father passed away a few months ago we had him cremated, but are now wondering what to do with his ashes. My sister and I would like to do something celebratory for his life, but aren't sure what to do. Any suggestions?
No Instructions Left

Coping with ringing in your ears
by Report submitted · April 13th, 2017
Dear Savvy Senior,
Are there any new treatments you know of that can help with constant ear ringing syndrome known as tinnitus? I've had it for years but it's gotten worse the older I get.
Ringing Louder at 62

Don't get swayed by these investment "myths"
by Submitted By John A. Westfall · April 13th, 2017
Over time, you will run into various suggestions for investing successfully. Yet, upon closer inspection, many of these ideas turn out to be "myths" - which could cause you trouble if you treat them as solid advice. Here are five of these myths, along with some reasons for ignoring them:

He can't tell a joke, but won't stop trying
by Dan Brawner Times Columnist · April 13th, 2017
Donald Trump's approval rating is 35 percent. Of course, there is a learning curve and, in all fairness, President of the United States is the hardest job in the world. But I suspect that Trump's biggest challenge is he can't tell a joke.

Legislature announces joint budget targets for FY18
by Ken Rizer State Representative · April 13th, 2017
This week the House and Senate announced joint targets for the Fiscal Year 2018 (FY18) budget. The agreed-upon budget plan spends $7.245 billion, which is about $18 million less than FY17. These numbers are a responsible and cautious approach to spending in recognition that revenue may continue to come in at a lower amount than currently estimated by the Revenue Estimating Conference.

Senator Mathis objects to cuts for college and job training
by Liz Mathis State Senator · April 13th, 2017
The Branstad-Reynolds Administration last week called for another $173 million in cuts to the budget for next year. Republicans in the majority are expected to propose even more cuts in the next few days. This comes on the heels of major, mid-year budget cuts earlier this session.

Benefits of working in retirement
by Report submitted · April 6th, 2017
Dear Savvy Senior,
I'm considering retiring later this year and starting my Social Security benefits, but would also like to work part time. Will this affect my benefits, and if so, how much?
Ready to Retire

Funding Mental Health and Disability Services
by Ken Rizer State Representative · April 6th, 2017
Iowa's Mental Health and Disability Services redesign created 14 regions with the intent of equalizing services across those regions. Each region is led by a CEO and governed by boards made up of county supervisors from the region's member counties. These regions are responsible for ensuring provision of various "core" services, as well as providing additional "core plus" services. Funding for these services comes from a combination of federal and state sources as well as from property taxes. While counties set their own mental health and disability services property tax levy rates, the majority of regions pool these funds to provide equal access to services for both urban and rural citizens.
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