The US Small Business Administration (SBA) Office of Advocacy has created a form for small businesses to report on burdensome federal regulations. The information SBA collects about burdensome regulations will help shape future regional regulatory roundtables, and will be shared with appropriate agencies.
The Gateway Arch in St. Louis was founded by the National Park Service in 1935 to commemorate Thomas Jefferson’s vision of a transcontinental United States. The Gateway Arch National Park (formerly known as the “Jefferson National Expansion Memorial”) stretches from the Old Courthouse to the steps overlooking the Mississippi River. In between, the Gateway Arch rises high, a bold monument to the pioneering spirit. Today, the Gateway Arch celebrates the diverse people who shaped the region and the country. The dreamer, Thomas Jefferson, negotiated the Louisiana Purchase in 1803, doubling the size of the United States. The explorers, Lewis & Clark and their Shoshone guide Sacagawea, scouted the new territory and mapped a route to the Pacific Ocean. The challengers, Dred and Harriet Scott, filed suit at the Old Courthouse for their freedom from slavery, and St. Louis suffragette Virginia Minor sued for women’s right to vote. The artist, architect Eero Saarinen, designed the monument that honors them all. The recent renovation includes a remodel of the museum and better access to the nearby courthouse, park, and downtown.
Melbourne, Australia developed an Urban Forest Strategy to combat the steady decline of trees following a 13 year drought. The city assigned all of Melbourne’s 77,000 trees individual email addresses, so that residents could report trees that had been vandalized or were in decline. Instead of reporting problems, people began writing love letters to their favorite trees. The chair of Melbourne’s Environment Portfolio, Councillor Arron Wood, said the response was an unexpected, but welcomed surprise. “It is unbelievable, we have now received over 3000 emails from all around the world — there have been people from Russia, Germany, Hungary, Singapore, Britain and Hong Kong all confessing their love for trees in Melbourne.” In order to spread the love, Mr Woods has shared some of the best love letters that have been written to Melbourne’s trees.
According to the Better Government Association, census estimates in recent years point to a shrinking Illinois, but the severity of the drop gets overstated while attempts to blame it on high taxes get overblown. Experts say a careful look at the data, both in Illinois and elsewhere, dispel the notion that taxes are a root cause of the recent population declines. “The kneejerk tax thing doesn’t work because you can find high-tax areas that are growing in the U.S. and you can find low-tax areas that are declining,” said Chicago demographer Rob Paral. “I know that gets lost on people who want to blame taxes on everything.” Some complicated stew of events and trends clearly is affecting Illinois, with recent annual census estimates showing headcount nudging down as immediate neighbors grow, albeit marginally. Economic experts say one possible reason for the divergence is that neighbors benefited more significantly from a resurgence in auto manufacturing following the federal bailout of that industry by the Obama administration. The flip side of the taxation narrative, put into action by Kansas six years ago, is that cutting taxes will give a jolt to economic development and drive population growth. But it did neither, and Republicans who control the legislature had to backtrack on the tax cuts last year when revenue loss became untenable.