It was an honor Tuesday to introduce Governor Kim Reynolds for her first Condition of the State address. It is humbling to be part of such a historic event.
The Governor delivered an optimistic and forward-thinking speech, laying out a bold agenda to unleash opportunity. It is an agenda, which I believe, mirrors the priorities of Iowans. Governor Reynolds highlighted her desire to create a competitive business environment, develop the most innovative energy policy in the world, educate our children for the knowledge economy, and train Iowans for the jobs of tomorrow. I support this vision and touched upon many of the same points Monday during my opening day speech in the Iowa Senate.
We always must continue to strive for growth in the state of Iowa. Growth requires more than making a tweak to the Iowa Code or rolling back a regulation. It requires creating a competitive business environment. We have made great strides in making this vision a reality in recent years. Our unemployment rate is 2.9 percent, which is a 17-year low. Others are taking notice of what we are accomplishing. MarketWatch has tabbed Iowa the best state to pursue the American dream, and CNBC said we were the most affordable state for the middle class.
Tax reform must be included in any conversation when it comes to growing our state. Our tax climate ranked 40th out of 50 states by the Tax Foundation. One of the ways to make certain we have the resources to meet our present and future obligations is to grow our state. It is important that we give people and businesses a reason to make the decision to call Iowa home, and a competitive tax environment can help make this happen.
Since being elected to the Iowa Senate, one of the issues I have been fighting for is tax reform. I am glad the Governor proposed addressing tax reform during her Condition of the State address. For the first time in nearly 20 years, I am really excited that we will have a real conversation about tax reform this legislative session.
I look forward to working with Governor Reynolds to ensure Iowans have the necessary training for the jobs of tomorrow. The goal of her Future Ready Iowa plan is to have 70 percent of Iowa’s workforce receive training and education beyond high school by 2025. Currently 58 percent receive training education, by reaching the 70 percent threshold more Iowans will have rewarding careers and employers will boast a more skilled workforce.
We want our children and grandchildren to able to choose from a wide array of career opportunities, have excellent schools to receive a world-class education and enjoy everything our state has to offer. Our children and grandchildren are the stakeholders when it comes to drafting our roadmap for a more prosperous future.
The Governor also highlighted several issues I also addressed in my opening day speech: Continuing to improve our Medicaid program, combatting the opioid epidemic, and improving water quality.
I have never been more optimistic about what lies ahead for our state. It is a great time to be an Iowan, but an even better time lies ahead if tackle the big issues and commit to bold ideas.