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Upmeyer: Iowa Strong for a more prosperous Iowa economy

Linda Upmeyer

From Rep. Linda Upmeyer –

Last month I wrote about a new initiative that my caucus, along with Governor Branstad and Senate Republicans, launched called Iowa Strong. This initiative presents our plan for creating a more prosperous Iowa economy, efficient and effective state government, and a high quality of life in our state. The Iowa Strong plan has three components: Strong Economy, Strong Budgetary Leadership, and Strong Schools and Communities.

I believe we should give voters the opportunity to make an informed decision based on our priorities. That is why throughout the remainder of the fall, we will be rolling this vision out across Iowa in preparation for the next legislative session. We recently kicked off the tour by discussing our plan for a Strong Economy. Our economic plan is focused on strengthening our middle class and empowering job-creators to invest and grow here in Iowa. We will be working hard during the next legislative session to accomplish the following goals:

Iowa Strong: Economy
1. Promote job creation through tax relief and reform.
· Universal Property Tax Reforms: Permanently reduce Iowa’s 3rd highest in the nation commercial/industrial property taxes through a rollback on their taxable value coupled with statewide reforms which reduce property taxes for all Iowans without shifting the taxes between classes.
· Reduce Personal and Employer Income Taxes: Reduce Iowa personal and employer income tax to flatten and lower our extremely high rates so ALL Iowans can keep more of their hard earned income and entrepreneurs can better compete and invest in Iowa.
2. Eliminate job-killing red tape and burdensome regulations.
· Jobs Impact Statement: Require regulatory bodies to consider and publish the impact any proposed rules or regulations may have on jobs in Iowa. Governor Branstad issued an executive order requiring these jobs-impact statements, but legislation is needed to make this permanent.
· Hold Agencies Accountable: Require regulatory bodies to establish timelines to handle applications and permits so bureaucracy is not slowing down economic growth.
· Reduce Fees: Conduct a review of all fees charged by agencies limiting the fees being collected to the actual cost of government to provide the service.
3. Increase career opportunities by investing in a skilled and competitive workforce.
· Improve Coordination and Maximize Job Training Programs: Consolidate Iowa’s patchwork alphabet soup of workforce development programs and remove burdensome usage restrictions to maximize the impact of these critical work skill investments to empower companies and communities to provide the specific training needed to meet their particular needs for a modern skilled workforce.
· Expand Entrepreneurship Education: Expand entrepreneurship education and mentorship opportunities to empower Iowans to create jobs. To that end, consolidate entrepreneurial education and related resources for AEA’s, school districts, community colleges, students, and teachers to allow more broad-based access to these vital resources.
· Community Colleges: Build upon the record 2013 state investment in our community colleges which will help keep tuition affordable and provide the trained workforce Iowa needs to attract and maintain job creators.
· STEM- Science Technology Engineering and Math: Continue to grow the STEM initiative in Iowa by committing to legislation which increases opportunities and education in STEM related fields. This would include changes to Iowa’s teacher compensation law allowing school districts to pay science and math teachers higher salaries to keep or attract them to teaching.
4. Send a strong message that Iowa is a place to start & grow a business.
· Easiest State in the Nation to Start a Business: Make Iowa the easiest state in the nation to start a business- measured in days, rather than weeks or months. To that end, create a one-stop electronic shop that pulls together all the start-up links and assistance programs needed to start a business in Iowa in a straightforward and streamlined web portal.
· Protect our workforce: Put Right-to-Work in the Iowa Constitution, guaranteeing that Iowa employees will never be forced to join a union in order to keep their job. It will also help Iowa attract and retain high quality employers and the jobs that come with them. In addition, Republicans will put a stop to job-killing legislation like Prevailing Wage and Open Scope Bargaining.
· Make Iowa a Bio-Science Corridor: Make new strategic state investments in bio-science innovations to enhance our leadership position as the best place to research, develop, and manufacture the bio-science innovations of the future. The state of Iowa should partner with our universities, economic development groups, and private businesses to make Iowa a Bio-Science Corridor that fosters job-creating bio-scientific breakthroughs that lead to new innovations, jobs, and incomes for Iowa.

As always, I appreciate hearing your thoughts and concerns. If you have any feedback, please don’t hesitate to contact me at linda.upmeyer@legis.state.ia.us or 515-281-4618.

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