Iowa Governor Terry Branstad says property tax relief, education reform, and job creation are at the top of his list for the 2013 legislative session.
Branstad talked about his “One Opportunity, One Iowa” program Thursday morning in Council Bluffs. The state of Iowa has a budget surplus of about $800 million. Branstad says taxpayers should get those funds.
“We intend to return $400 million in actual property tax relief to Iowa’s hard-working taxpayers. The principles guiding our property tax plan are simple: permanent property tax relief, no shift in the tax burden between different classes of property, and property tax reduction for all classes of property.”
An Iowa House committee narrowly approved such legislation Wednesday.
Branstad also discussed Iowa’s education system, saying the state has an “economic and moral imperative” to improve learning in the classroom.
“We cannot continue to be complacent. You know, back in 1992, our eighth graders were number one in America on the national math test. Last year we were 25th, not because our scores slipped but because other states have put in place significant reforms and improvements and have passed us by.”
Branstad says the improvements are needed to address skills gaps in Iowa’s workforce. He also discussed the Teach Iowa initiative, which would provide incentives for students to pursue teaching careers.