Reynolds sets out important goals

Gov. Kim Reynolds delivered her first Condition of the State Tuesday. She told lawmakers – and her fellow residents of our state – that Iowa is doing well but has important challenges to confront in the year ahead.

The governor pointed with pride to some of Iowa’s strengths:

• It is ranked as the third best-managed of the 50 American states.

• It ranks No. 1 as a good place for middle class families to live.

• Iowa’s high school graduation rate is the highest in the U.S.

• The unemployment rate in Iowa is among the lowest in the nation.

“The success of our state has come from our people: hard-working and disciplined; innovative and driven,” Reynolds said. “The condition of our state is strong because Iowans are discovering and unleashing opportunities in our schools, on factory floors, on main streets, and around kitchen tables.”

Reynolds said that despite the ample good news about Iowa, she and the Legislature must move aggressively to keep the state on a successful trajectory. Here are some of the issues the governor wants Lawmakers to tackle this year:

• Legislation to ensure water quality needs priority attention.

• State taxes need to be reformed. Assorted adjustments are required quickly because changes in federal tax laws could cause Iowans to pay more state income taxes.

• Legislation is needed to give farmers, small business owners and their employees access to health insurance they can afford.

The governor regards making sure that Iowans have the skills needed to prosper in a rapidly changing labor market to be of huge importance. That’s why she has been a leader in promoting a multifaceted state initiative to strengthen education in Iowa concerning science, technology, engineering and mathematics – usually referred to by the acronym STEM. In her remarks Tuesday she again stressed the importance of that undertaking.

She also strongly supported the Future Ready Iowa project and urged passage of the Future Ready Iowa Act.

“Future Ready Iowa will create an environment where opportunity is unleashed,” Reynolds said. “A place where high-paying new jobs are seamlessly linked with a motivated and highly-skilled workforce. … (The bill) creates opportunities for Iowans of all ages and experiences. Opportunities to get the skills they need for a rewarding career.”

Reynolds sees Iowa as poised for a remarkable 21st century.

“My vision for the future is an Iowa overflowing with opportunity – opportunity for our working families, young people, and our communities, both rural and urban,” she said. “My vision is to give the people of Iowa a place to call home that unleashes opportunity at every turn.”

Reynolds delivered a speech that set out a prudent policy course for the Legislature.

Perhaps of greater importance, she sought to inspire Iowans. In our state the obstacles to success in life already are far fewer than in many other places. People who have goals and work hard will do well here. Our governor wants lawmakers to partner with her to make sure Iowa remains a superb place to live that affords its residents countless ways to achieve their dreams.

The Times-Republican applauds her message. We urge members of the Legislature to give her recommendations careful consideration.