By Senator Paul McKinley – Iowa Senate Republican Leader
No issue is more important to Iowans right now than the issue of jobs and the health of our economy.
With unemployment in Iowa at the highest level in nearly a quarter century, tens of thousands of people are underemployed and many families are adjusting to wage and benefit reductions, Iowans are looking for a clear, broad based and realistic plan to grow Iowa’s economy and put more of our fellow citizens back into long-term sustainable private sector jobs.
Unfortunately, that kind of vision and leadership has not existed with Chet Culver in the governor’s office and Democrats in charge of the Legislature. There has not been a plan to move our state forward when it comes to permanent private sector jobs. Instead, they’ve created an eye-popping legacy of irresponsible spending and generational debt now known as I-JOBS which has amounted to spending $1.7 billion dollars of borrowed money over 30 years to create temporary government make-work.
When the plan was introduced in 2009, Culver promised it would create 30,000 jobs. A year later, Governor Culver told reporters with The Des Moines Register it would create “hopefully hundreds if not thousands” of jobs. Then earlier this week, the Iowa Democratic Party released a statement reversing Culver’s revised prediction by guaranteeing the program “will create 30,000 jobs and secure Iowa’s economic future.”
None of that has happened and I-JOBS is an expensive failure. Since the plan was unveiled, numbers from Iowa Workforce Development show Iowa has actually lost over 30,000 jobs. In 2009 alone, 222 factories closed their doors.
As it turns out, none of the promises or predictions have been based on reality and such instances have developed into an alarming trend with this administration. Culver continues to be in denial about the health of Iowa’s finances and fails to recognize that Iowa faces a billion dollar deficit next year. Our savings accounts have been depleted to dangerously low levels, our state debt has quintupled and property taxpayers face massive tax increases this fall.
I think you will agree: it’s time for fresh leadership.
When it comes to private sector job creation and getting Iowa’s finances back on solid ground, Senate Republicans believe it is time to offer real time-tested solutions that will move Iowa forward and open the doors of renewed prosperity in every Iowa community. Many Senate Republicans are current and former employers who know first-hand what it takes to create jobs and provide opportunities.
Here are 5 big ideas that will make Iowa again a state where jobs and prosperity can flourish:
1. Stability and Commitment
§ In these challenging and uncertain economic times, Iowa employers, small businesses and entrepreneurs need stability and commitment from policymakers that they will not impose massive tax and regulatory changes that will substantially affect their bottom line. Simply put, they need to be confident that government will not “rock the boat” and imperil their financial security and ability to hire more people. Economic growth is dependent on certainty and we have not had that since Democrats took control.
2. Responsible Budgeting
§ We cannot afford to continue to have more government than our economy can support. For four years, we have violated the state’s 99 percent spending limitation by spending more money than our state has taken in. It leads to unbalanced budgets, record deficits, generational debt and higher taxes and fees. All of which stymie job creation. The record during the last four years under Governor Culver and legislative Democrats is a past we cannot afford to repeat.
3. Property Tax Relief
§ Iowa already has some of the highest property tax rates in the nation and that is about to get much worse thanks to Governor Culver. His property tax increase will take effect in September will hit families and employers hard. Even if you rent property, it’s a good chance your landlord will pass that added expense on to you. We believe we need real property tax relief to help stimulate job creation in Iowa.
4. End the Anti-Jobs Agenda & Remove the Barriers to Job Creation
§ In this global economy, we are not just competing against our neighboring states – we are competing with countries from around the globe. Iowa must become more competitive but that will not happen if we adopt much of the anti-jobs agenda that has been discussed during the last four years. Whether it be the repeal of federal deductibility, radically changing our workers compensation system, altering collective bargaining or allowing a price-fixing prevailing wage, all of these ideas make Iowa less attractive. Even discussing these bills and others like them in the Legislature has sent the wrong message and had a chilling effect on job creation.
5. Provide Immediate Economic Adrenaline and Plan for the Long-Term
§ We have offered a detailed three point plan that involves providing an immediate jolt of adrenaline to Iowa’s economy by offering aggressive tax incentives for hiring more Iowans. We must also cultivate good ideas and encourage 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.
We 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.