Education, jobs, and taxes. The three topics are typical of any legislative session, but Iowa Governor Terry Branstad has some specific goals in mind for the Hawkeye State.
The Republican Governor is bringing his "Condition of the State" message to the Quad Cities on Tuesday, January 17th. He will deliver the speech in front of the Bettendorf Rotary Club at the Fortune Garden Restaurant, 2211 Kimberly Road in Bettendorf at Noon.
Education reform is one of the biggest parts of Governor Branstad's plan. He'd let other staff handle school management duties so principals across the state could better help teachers. He also wants to test incoming teachers and make them hold at least a "B" average in college. For students, Governor Branstad would end social promotion by requiring all third graders to take a literacy test and not allow them to move on if they don't read well enough.
"Let's assure that children can read by the end of third grade," said the Governor during his "Condition of the State" speech in Des Moines last week. "Otherwise, they will fall further and further behind. Reading is so essential for success in school. It is unfair to promote an illiterate child."
Another item of business this legislative session is reducing commercial property taxes. Iowa has the second highest in the country, which Governor Branstad says deters new businesses from establishing roots in the Hawkeye state. By cutting the taxes by 5% for 8 years, the Governor says more businesses will want to come to Iowa and current businesses will be able to hire more workers. He also wants to foster supply chain centers, which would be smaller companies that might provide parts or services to existing larger companies.
Cutting commercial and industrial taxes by 40% is the first part of Governor Branstad's jobs plan. The other components including beginning an annual $25 million investment in his jobs program, encouraging the growth of manufacturing suppliers in Iowa, and pushing for more employee stock option plans to keep businesses from being sold out of state.
Governor Branstad says he's confident about his plan as well as lawmakers. He's asking them to put aside last year's long legislative session and focus on working together.
"The 'all or nothing' politics that often prevents our leaders from making progress on so many issues in Washington, D.C., and in other state capitols does not have to happen here."