116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
Some Iowa leaders are looking for a new slogan to welcome travelers to our state.
Dozens of welcome signs on Iowa highways are almost 20 years old, bearing the Vilsack-era slogan 'Fields of Opportunities,” which isn't the state slogan anymore. There's bipartisan support in the Legislature for sprucing up the signs and possibly updating the slogan.
Officials might seek the public's input on new designs and verbiage. I have some ideas to contribute.
Next Weed Store 679 Miles - Once you leave the Illinois side of the Quad Cities heading west, that's how long it will take you to reach the next legal marijuana dispensary in the free state of Colorado. It's 308 miles if you're heading east from the Nebraska border to the first legal pot shop in Illinois.
The Poopiest State - Iowa produces more feces per square mile than any other state, according to a 2019 analysis by University of Iowa engineer Chris Jones. That accounts for both humans and livestock, with Iowa's hog population leading the nation. Some of that poop gets into our watersheds.
A Red State But You Still Have to Get a Gun Permit - More than a dozen other states have 'constitutional carry,” allowing residents to carry guns without a permit. Iowa Republicans in their fifth straight year of full control over state government haven't yet passed such a law, but it's under consideration this year in the Legislature.
A Red State But We Have High Income Taxes - Iowa's top marginal tax rate ranks among the 10 highest in the nation, just behind blue states New York and Vermont. Eighteen other states have either no state income tax or a flat tax rate, according to the Tax Foundation.
East of Omaha - Georgia's welcome signs invoke a song popularized by Ray Charles. Iowa doesn't have any tunes quite iconic as that, but we could take a line from 'Turn the Page,” Bob Seger's unflattering portrait of touring in the Midwest.
Dave & Buster's Coming Soon - Until recently, the national sports bar/arcade chain could not operate in Iowa because its high-dollar prizes would have violated the state's old-timey gambling laws. Lobbyists for Dave and Buster's successfully pushed for a change in 2019 and the company now has plans to open in the Des Moines area.
Busch Light Capital of the World - It's ostensibly modeled after a German beer and its ownership interests are in Missouri and Belgium, but Busch Light is strongly associated with Iowa. By some measures, it's the most popular beer in Iowa and nowhere else.
Drive in the Left Lane, the Interstate-80 Way - Borrow a line from Texas, where signs advise motorists to 'drive friendly, the Texas way.” Gumming up the left lane is dangerous and illegal, but people do it anyway, so the signs could be a warning to discerning motorists.
You Make Me Squeal - It's the Branstad-era slogan, 'Iowa: You Make Me Smile,” mashed up with the famous line from a TV advertisement that earned Joni Ernst national recognition during her first U.S. Senate campaign in 2014.
No Escaping Please - That was the signage on an unlocked gate at the jail in a 1997 'The Simpsons” episode. It didn't work on the fictional inmate in the show, but maybe it would work on young Iowans rushing to get out of their shrinking rural towns. Pretty please?
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