1) Medical Insurance -- high priority is keeping young people covered, and in maintaining coverage for others. At all costs keep the "Obama Care" -- the ones that are outspoken about not keeping it are those who have never not have medical care.
2) There used to be a federal program (Title IV I believe) that supported school and public libraries. When districts / municipalities funded their libraries at a set per patron level the federal dollars kicked in and matched funds. Only got the funds if they were maintained. Could come from the educational division of the budget and get rid of some of the testing mandates. READING scores rise when children have access to books. It is time that those making decisions review reading scores and the results of the librarian and media center secretary cuts that have taken place over the last few years. There is evidence that these cuts are counterproductive. Certified librarians (and a well-stocked library) are the most cost-effective element in raising reading scores. Numerous research documents prove this, but for starters, please read the School Library Journal article (Sept. 1, 2011) at http://bit.ly/restorelibrarians. Behind all of those accomplishments by students and classroom teachers are the quiet librarian professionals who make it all happen. Rethink past actions and rehire a certified librarian for every school.
3) States are losing a lot of revenue by not collecting state sales taxes on online sales but their only solution is to "whine" and threaten to make everyone pay & collect the tax. I agree EXCEPT it would be a complete nightmare for a small business person such as myself (see www.greenfrog-gifts.com) who would not only have to collect the tax BUT THEN WOULD HAVE TO DISTRIBUTE IT BACK TO 50 states. Collecting is not a huge problem if the tax rate is the same throughout the state (Iowa for example, has several "local" rates, so one must just collect at the highest rate in the state or risk undercollecting) but the distribution is the real problem. I wouldn't even know the addresses for the entities that would be collecting sales tax in each state. So here is my proposal -- it is patterned after the copyright fees paid by university professors for including copyrighted articles/chapters in their college hand outs. When they request a printing shop to print a copyrighted article there is a code used that tells the shop where to remit the fee. The fee is included in the printing costs (much like sales tax) and then periodically the printing company submits the TOTAL copyright fees collected to a clearing house, along with the breakdown of codes with fees, and then the clearing house distributes the fees from a multitude of printing companies. So -- Excel file of fees/codes and the one check. Why not establish a clearing house for sales tax. I collect it. Report breakdown of how much (sometimes as little as 25¢) and write one check - and send it off to the sales tax clearing house. The clearing house then distributes a combined check to the appropriate states.
Okay that is it for this round. Perhaps Representative Braley is listening. We will see.