From Senator Amanda Ragan –
When looking ahead to the 2013 session of the Iowa Legislature, continuing to create jobs and grow Iowa’s economy tops my priority list.
We need to do what we can to help more Iowans recover from the national recession. Ensuring that workers can get the training they need must be part of our statewide effort.
This is important because the current skill shortage is proving to be a serious drag on Iowa’s economy. By 2018, 62 percent of all jobs in Iowa—1.1 million jobs—will require some training or education beyond high school. Yet nearly 10 percent of Iowa’s working-age adults do not have a high school diploma.
By investing now in worker training and retraining, we can make sure Iowans are ready to step into new jobs as the economy rebounds.
Last year, we took a step in the right direction by approving a significant increase in state general aid to community colleges. We also created new opportunities to earn non-credit skill certificates and launched the new Skilled Workforce Shortage Tuition Grant, also known as “Kibbie Grants.”
Here are other ways we can invest in Iowans and in Iowa businesses:
• Cutting commercial property taxes for every Iowa business, especially for small businesses.
• Cutting taxes for working families struggling to make ends meet, thereby boosting the local economy.
• Making it more likely that Iowa and U.S. companies will get state and local government contracts when their bids are cost competitive.
We’ve made bipartisan progress on these issues in the last couple of years. My hope for 2013 is that we’ll keep working together and take some big steps forward.
The new legislative session starts on January 14. Let me know what you think should be done to boost economic growth and job creation here in Iowa. Call or e-mail me your ideas.