The People's Party

It's About Jobs, Stupid!

Monday, November 23rd, 2009

McKinley’s Memos

Senate Republican Leader Paul McKinley

The national unemployment rate has now crested above 10 percent and Iowa’s jobless ranks have now surpassed 114,000 – a level not seen since the early years of the Farm Crisis. However, that number does not paint the entire picture. There are thousands of Iowans who have had their hours slashed, their work weeks shortened, and have endured furloughs, diminished wages and benefit cuts. Even worse, this figure does not account for many of the Iowans who have stopped looking for work.

The unemployment numbers could likely get worse before we begin to see a turnaround.

Yet, there have been no steps taken by the governor and current majority party in the Legislature to reverse this trend and make it easier for employers, small businesses and entrepreneurs to put more of our friends and neighbors back to work.

A recent study reported by US News & World Report noted that Iowa is second to last in attractiveness to businesses and employers because of high taxation, high regulatory burdens, and excessive and unreasonable government interference. Iowa’s unemployment is at the highest point in a generation.

For the vast majority of Iowans, concerns about jobs and the economy is paramount and they have a real appetite for answers and bold economic leadership.

Even with the troubling economic news, there are solutions and steps that could be taken right now to jump start Iowa’s economy and provide a much needed jolt of economic adrenaline. There can be a bright light at the end of the tunnel if swift and proper action is taken soon.

Senate Republicans have offered leadership and bold ideas to help put Iowans back into sustainable private-sector jobs. Unlike the Democrat agenda, our plans do not grow the size and scope of state government. Our solutions do more than create temporary government make-work positions that cost taxpayers billions of dollars. Taxpayers deserve tangible results. Governor Culver’s $1.7 billion dollar debt scheme and President Obama’s hundreds of billions in spending have simply not delivered.

Our initiatives are aimed at re-establishing the principle of free markets as the engine of economic growth in Iowa. We must move away from the mentality of having government serve as the go-between of economic development. Too often bureaucrats pick which businesses or projects will win taxpayer dollars and therefore also who will lose out. During the past decade, Iowa has drifted away from supporting all existing and potential employers that dot the landscape of Iowa and has instead focused on chasing a few already established mega corporations in hopes of luring them inside our borders.

We believe it is time to make Iowa open to all – not just a select and elite few. After all, every big business was once a small business and every small business was once a good idea.

Our jobs creation initiative seeks to provide immediate and substantial tax credit incentives to Iowa’s job creators and then lay in place other needed components that will lead to sustainable job growth and prosperity in the future. Iowa must remain competitive and cutting-edge to see sustainable growth. Our plan provides for a one-time tax credit for every new job created at the level of 50 percent of the annual wages. This is a bold, limited time tax credit that will provide Iowa employers with immediate and substantive relief. We have also added in important components that will begin to remove and reduce the barriers and blockades that put Iowa at a competitive disadvantage compared to other states and countries.

Even though we introduced our job creation package earlier this year, the current majority has yet to allow a debate – let alone a vote.

What we have been advocating for in Iowa to get our fellow citizens back into jobs gets stonewalled by partisan Democrats in Des Moines even though similar ideas are finding bi-partisan support on a national level. In Iowa, we can lead the way and set a positive example for the rest of the states. Iowans are hurting and it is not acceptable to continue to sit idly by while our unemployment roles continue to grow.

We cannot afford to have more of the same irresponsible government spending, record deficits and debt and higher taxes. Government has become too big, too out of touch and increasingly out-of-control. We simply have more government than we can afford. Iowans want the focus to be on jobs and Senate Republicans have not only listened, we have stepped up to offer real solutions and bold ideas.

We must remain optimistic that Iowa will weather this current economic storm because there is a strong economic foundation to build upon. We must always remember that two out of every three new jobs are created by small businesses. Common sense, hard work and Iowa ingenuity have come to define this state and it is time to get back to the economic traditions that have allowed so many employers and businesses to positively impact our people. We must keep Iowa open for business so we can grow our economy, help our communities and put our citizens back into good paying jobs again.

There is a light at the end of the tunnel but it will take fresh leadership and big ideas to get us there. As Iowans, we should take this opportunity to grow our state and provide a future for our children and grandchildren that we can all be proud of. When we pursue the right priorities, like growing Iowa’s economy instead of Iowa’s government, we can be assured that our best days will be yet to come.

As always, I welcome hearing from you and can be reached by phone at 515-281-3560 or by e-mail at paul.mckinley@legis.state.ia.us

Paul McKinley
Senate Republican Leader
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