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Ragan: Still time to do more for economic growth


This news story was published on April 29, 2012.
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From Sen. Amanda Ragan –

Doing more to create jobs for Iowans and grow our state’s economy is still my top priority as the 2012 session winds down.

I hope we can agree to put job creation first as the 2012 session wraps up. Efforts to boost our economy that I’m pushing for include:

** Fixing Iowa’s skilled worker shortage. It’s the best thing we can do for our economy, according to business leaders. Partnerships between community colleges and local businesses are a proven way to help Iowans gain the skills needed for hard-to-fill job openings that are locally available right now.

** Cutting commercial property taxes for every Iowa business—especially for small and Main Street businesses—without increasing residential property taxes.

** Requiring more effort to buy American and buy Iowan first when your state and local tax dollars are spent.

** Cutting income taxes for 260,000 working Iowa families by boosting Iowa’s Earned Income Tax Credit.

** Reducing health insurance costs for 60,000 Iowa small businesses with a state tax credit on employee coverage.

** Boosting alternative energy investment through consumer rebates for residential and business solar and wind projects that save money and are environmentally friendly.

One of the steps that we’ve approved in the Senate recently will enhance accountability and transparency when your tax dollars are spent for local economic development.

Tax Incremental Financing — better known as TIF —is an important economic development tool for cities and counties. After a TIF district is created, the property tax income generated from increased property values in that area are diverted from schools, cities or counties and used instead for economic development efforts in the TIF area.

House File 2460, as amended by the Senate, requires robust reporting, increases transparency and puts some restrictions on how communities use TIF. For example, the legislation would prevent TIF dollars in certain instances from being used to “steal” businesses away from a neighboring community. The bill also ensures taxpayers know how their property taxes are affected by TIF projects.

HF 2460, as amended by the Senate, now goes back to the House for their further consideration.

Additional information
This is a legislative column by Senator Amanda Ragan, representing Mitchell and Floyd counties and parts of Cerro Gordo and Howard counties. For newsletters, photos and further information go to www.senate.iowa.gov/Ragan .

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