Gov. Branstad today released the following statement following the close of the 2012 legislative session:
In January, the lieutenant governor and I brought forward a bold agenda focused on the dual goals of job creation and transformational education reform. I want to thank the General Assembly for considering our priorities and for adopting a significant number of them to help move our state forward. [See list below.]
Legislation passed by this General Assembly will provide our Iowa Economic Development Authority with additional tools to help meet our administration's ambitious goal to create 200,000 new jobs. We have made significant progress on that goal during this first year and a half and the High Quality Jobs Incentive Fund and Employee Stock Option Plan legislation will help accelerate those efforts.
I am also pleased that this General Assembly took a first important step toward our goal of transformational education reform. While these initial steps may be considered by some as small, our new early childhood literacy initiative, in particular, will have lasting effects on the lives of thousands of Iowa children and significantly improve their chances of future academic and career success. We also enhance teacher accountability by requiring annual reviews.
However, the 2012 session may be remembered as much for what failed to be accomplished as for what actually was accomplished. Despite the best efforts of my office and a bipartisan majority in the Iowa House, the inability of Senate Democrats to adopt serious property tax reform has put Iowa taxpayers in jeopardy of seeing significant property tax increases in the coming year.
The Senate failed to support legislation based on the framework I believe was agreed to as a roadmap to finding a compromise between my office, the House, and the Senate. They failed to pass a meaningful step forward in our goal to make Iowa's tax system more competitive or assist with our critically needed job creation goals.
As a result, Iowa taxpayers face yet another year with property taxes that are scheduled to grow nearly $2 billion over the next eight years. This is absolutely unacceptable and Iowa voters will have an opportunity to resolve this impasse in November.
Lt. Governor Reynolds and I are proud to work with all members of the Iowa General Assembly and proud to serve our citizens each and every day. We will continue over the next seven and a half months of 2012 to travel the state, promote our ambitious agenda, and work aggressively toward the achievement of our four goals:
1. 200,000 new jobs for Iowans;
2. 25% increase in personal incomes;
3. Reduce the cost of government by 15%; and
4. Provide our children with the nation's finest education.