FRANCHISE FEE: Des Moines Heads To The Polls

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Des Moines voters are deciding on two separate issues Tuesday.

The first measure is whether or not to increase the current franchise fee for seven years.

It comes after a judge ruled the city charged an illegal tax by raising franchise fees on MidAmerican energy bills between 2005 and 2009.

The judge ordered the city to pay back $40 million. The city wants to raise that money by increasing future franchise fees.

gatto henryCity leaders say if voters reject the measure, they will increase property taxes to pay the bill.

Voters in Ward Four will also fill a vacancy on the city council.

The two candidates for the city council seat are Joe Gatto and Joe Henry.


  • Robert Allen

    Woo – For a Moment – When the Headline indicated a Franchise fee – I thought that there Was a Fee Imposed on Voting – using the Voting Franchise.

    I’m Pleased to see that a Different Franchise is involved !!!!!

  • John

    To ask the victims who had their money illegally taken from them to pay themselves back seems so unjust. Since the city took money that was not theirs to take and spent money that was not theirs to spend the only fair thing for the city to do now is to spend less and make room in the budget for these compensation payments. I would suggest making cuts in in the budget not related to public safety such as capital improvements..

    • Robert Allen

      Well John – this is Neither the First Time – Nor will it be the Last Time – “To ask the victims who had their money illegally taken from them to pay themselves back….”

      It’s Just the Small Price that We Pay – for Government – Of the People – By the People – and – For the People – In America – THE Leading Democracy of the Free World (or so the Propaganda tells us)!!!!

      • John

        If they would have taken care of this when it was first ruled illegal in district court the money would have been paid back by now. Instead they spent several years as well as thousands of taxpayer dollars in a vain attempt to hold on to their ill gotten gain.

  • John

    I do not believe that the 2.5% franchise fee will be temporary. Do you remember the “temporary” 1% increase in the sales tax to pay for public school improvements? When this “temporary” tax was about to expire our elected officials figured out a way to make it permanent. In seven years they will figure out a way to make this increase permanent also.

    • Robert Allen

      Such a Cynical Attitude, John!!! HOW Do you live in this World – day after day – week after week – month after month – year after year???

      On the other hand – Cynicism often Drives Change !!!!

      • John

        Actually the framers of our constitution were cynical about government also which is why we have the separation of powers, limited federal government ( supposedly) and the bill of rights. They were wary about giving too much power and authority to those who would rule over them.

  • Troy V

    The judge that ruled on this case could have saved tons of taxpayer $$$ (that lawyers got) by just issueing a summary judgement that the tax was illegal and imposed a penalty of $0. The judge KNOWS that the only way governments get $$$ is through taxes and he should have known that putting any monetary value on the judgement would just mean more wasted $$$.

    But common sense and our court system doesn’t go hand in hand.

    Make a statement that they broke the law/rules, but the law was re-written BEFORE the lawsuit went to court to allow for the fees/tax.

    The judgement was for $40,000,000, how much of that actually went back to taxpayers (I’d guess maybe 1/2 as the other 1/2 went to the lawfirm that filed the complaint). So the taxpayers got 1/2 their $$ back and now will have to pay double that to pay off the loan the city had to take out to send out the “refunds” in the first place.


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