How Iowa Can Create More Jobs
Senate Republican Leader Jerry Behn talks about what Iowa can do to create more jobs for its residents in his weekly update.
Submitted by Senate Republican Leader Jerry Behn
Iowa’s unemployment rate held steady at 5.1 percent in May. This is nearly 3 points lower than the national level of 8.2 percent.
However, there are still over 85,000 Iowans who are unemployed with many more underemployed or who have stopped looking for work entirely. Clearly, there is ample room for progress.
So what will it take to add more jobs in Iowa? What can we do to add a jolt of momentum to our economy and buck the sluggish national trend?
Here are 5 big steps that will make Iowa a state where jobs and prosperity can flourish:
Re-Establish Stability and Confidence
In these challenging economic times, Iowa employers and small businesses need and crave stability and commitment from policymakers that they will not impose massive tax increases and regulatory changes. Job creation and economic growth are dependent on certainty. Whether it is the passage of Obamacare, attempts to repeal federal deductibility, attempts to radically change our workers compensation system or attempts to dramatically expand government union bargaining, all of these ideas make Iowa less attractive to expansion because of their huge added costs.
Enact Responsible Budgets That Are Free from gimmicks
We cannot afford to continue to have more government than our economy can support. While we have made noticeable progress from the days when Governor Culver and legislative Democrats spent more money than our state took in, much work still remains. Unbalanced budgets, record deficits, generational debt and higher taxes and fees all stymie job creation. Most of these issues are better under control with Governor Branstad in charge but there is more work to be done.
Pass Aggressive, Authentic and Permanent Property Tax Relief
Iowa has some of the highest property tax rates in the nation and hardworking Iowa taxpayers should buckle up for another tax increase jolt this fall. After Senate Democrats torpedoed authentic, permanent and aggressive property tax relief on the second to last day of session, Iowans will certainly not see smaller bills this fall when assessments are given out. Senate Republicans believe we need real property tax relief to help stimulate job creation in Iowa. We just cannot afford to have rates as high as downtown New York City.
Initiate Real Education Reform for the Economy of Tomorrow
Over the past decade, Iowa’s standing in education has stagnated significantly compared to the rest of the country. Simultaneously, we have spent billions of dollars on an annual basis and yet have not achieved the results our students deserve and parents and taxpayers expect. Education should be about preparing our students to achieve success and be productive citizens. Let’s get back to setting high standards and expectations for our students and challenge them to reach their fullest potential. Students will rise to the challenge if we provide them with world-class standards, ambitious benchmarks and a rigorous curriculum grounded in the fundamentals of reading, writing, math, science, history and civics.
Promote What We’ve Got – Our Great, Hardworking Citizens
The people of Iowa are truly this state’s greatest asset – their independence, self-reliance, honesty, resilience, work ethic, volunteerism and concern and care for others should serve as an inspiration to us all. We have incredible, hardworking people in all 947 communities doing extraordinary things to renew the promise that exists in all 99 counties. These Iowans just want to make a good living and raise their families and they deserve a government that respects, appreciates and encourages them.
We know that it is not government that creates jobs – it is the private sector that does so. That’s why we must have a government that is effective and efficient and does not put up unnecessary barriers to job creation and career development.
Starting with these five key steps is important. It will take a focused effort with the right leadership but we know it can be done. As Iowans, we have accomplished great things before and we will do it again.
Senate Republican Leader