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IA Governor Praises Lee County Growth

Iowa Governor Terry Branstad says a trip through Lee County shows his economic development policies are working.

The Governor and Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds spent several hours talking to executives at employees at Pinnacle Foods and at Siemens on Friday.

They also toured both facilities and even participated in a ribbon-cutting ceremony for a nearly 18,000 square foot expansion at Pinnacle.

The company spent roughly $20-million to build a new production line, which led to the creation of about 65 new jobs and the retention of several hundred more.

Representatives at Siemens talked to the Governor and Lt. Governor about how the company ships its giant wind turbine blades across the country via train or semi.

Governor Branstad says the growth being seen at these two Lee County industries is being seen throughout the state.

“When I was elected Governor, the unemployment rate was over 10% in Lee County while the state was over 6%,” says Branstad, “statewide, we are down to 5.6% while Lee County is below 10%.  We are going in the right direction but we need to keep working on it.”

Governor Branstad says his top legislative priority is a 40% reduction in Iowa’s commercial property tax rate over eight years.

He also used the visit to tout two other proposals that he believes could help more businesses and industries come to or stay in Lee County.

The Governor says industries are not charged a corporate income tax on manufactured goods sold outside of Iowa.

Branstad says that means some end up paying less in taxes than their in-state suppliers.

He says he wants to give suppliers the same benefits as manufacturing plants, which he believes will lead more of them to move to or remain in Lee County.

Branstad also wants to eliminate capital gains taxes if an employer sells a business to an employee stock-option program.

He says that could prevent Iowa businesses from being sold and relocated.

Jason Parrott is a former reporter at Tri States Public Radio.