By Senator Paul McKinley, Iowa Senate Republican Leader
Iowans received more sobering news on the economy late last week. Unemployment ticked up to 6.9 percent with 116,800 Iowans out of work – an increase of 2,600 from the month before.
This news comes as Governor Culver is traveling the state touting his $1.7 billion dollar I-JOBS program that he promised would create 30,000 jobs and spur an economic revitalization of Iowa’s economy. But since unveiling his I-JOBS idea during the Condition of the State address in January 2009, Iowa has actually lost over 30,000 jobs while nearly $1.7 billion has been added to the state’s credit card.
Based on employment numbers from Iowa Workforce Development, the graph below illustrates the month by month unemployment numbers since Governor Culver announced his temporary work program.
Clearly, Culver’s expensive program has failed. Government cannot create jobs – it’s the private sector and small business that is the engine of job growth.
That’s why we need a new direction for Iowa – one that actually puts the focus on private sector job creation and puts Iowans back into good paying jobs in every county and community in this state.
Instead of empowering government bureaucrats to pick winners as is the direction taken by Governor Culver and legislative Democrats, Senate Republicans believe we must give entrepreneurs, employers and small business owners the tools they need to not only succeed today – but into the future as well.
Our detailed three point plan involves providing an immediate jolt of adrenaline to Iowa’s economy by offering aggressive tax incentives for hiring more Iowans while also cultivating good ideas and encouraging entrepreneurs to come forward to develop or expand their venture right here in Iowa.
In addition, our plan includes putting together an extensive volunteer commission of business leaders and entrepreneurs from around that state that will be tasked with identifying the onerous barriers and regulations that are holding back growth, development, expansion and job creation in Iowa. The Legislature and governor will need to act on these citizen suggestions.
When Governor Culver took office and legislative Democrats took over both chambers of the Legislature in January of 2007, Iowa’s unemployment was at 3.6 percent. Today it is on the verge of 7 percent.
Last year, Iowa lost 222 factories and two-thirds of Iowa’s counties lost population because of a lack of jobs. Today we remain 49th in the nation in friendliness to job creators according to US News & World Report and 41st according to the very reputable Small Business Survival Index.
We have now seen four years of sky high property taxes, irresponsible spending and generational debt. Year after year, Democrats have discussed and in some instances passed damaging anti-jobs legislation like gutting Iowa’s Right to Work status, decimating our worker’s compensation system, fundamentally altering our collective bargaining methods and implementing a property tax increasing prevailing wage.
We can and must do better. The status quo in Iowa cannot continue.
Senate Republicans know we can experience a 99 county resurgence. Iowa is filled with promise because we have wonderful people in welcoming communities who have a burning passion to build a better Iowa for their families, friends and neighbors.
We must begin to change direction, reignite the entrepreneurial spirit of the private sector and welcome the new economy of tomorrow. Let us again put our faith in the people to move Iowa forward instead of allowing government to hold us back.