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Iowa PIRG says Branstad should focus on rail, smoking cessation


Governor Terry Branstad was scheduled to deliver his budget proposal to Iowa lawmakers at 10 a.m. today.

The Iowa Public Interest Research Group (PIRG) announced yesterday what it would most like to see in the governor’s speech.

The group said in a press release that Branstad should support the proposed passenger rail line from Chicago to Iowa City that would likely eventually connect to Des Moines and Omaha. The federal government has given the project an $81 million grant, but the state must follow through in allocating $10 million for the project.

The PIRG said Branstad should continue to provide funding for smoking cessation, saying every dollar spent on smoking cessation by states results in $2.60 in savings when considering healthcare expenses, lost wages from smoking-related illness and premature deaths.

The group would also like to see the state budget become more transparent, especially if Branstad provides corporate tax breaks in Iowa.

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