Republican gubernatorial candidate Doug Gross is ridiculing democrat Governor Tom Vilsack’s new economic development ideas. Gross says he congratulates the governor “for getting an election-year conversion to economic development.” Gross says economic development has been neglected and we have the results to show for it.Vilsack proposes changing the way state grants are handed out — splitting the money evenly among the state’s 15 community college districts so businesses in all regions of the state can compete. The decisions on who would get the grants would be made by new boards made up of local officials. Gross says that’s an unnecessary expansion of government, not more jobs.Gross says Vilsack has ignored economic development for the past three-and-a-half years, and Iowa’s economy shows it as “we’re last in new business starts, we’ve gone from 14th to 34th in the rankings of our business climate, our per-capita income is 38th in the country, we got 16-thousand taxpayers left the state last year.”Gross says the state’s economic growth is inhibited by fundamental problems in Iowa’s business and regulatory climate. Gross says the fact that Iowa ranks 50th among the states in new business starts is a stark reminder of the state’s economic woes. Joe Householder, a spokesman for the Vilsack campaign, says Gross has been too busy lobbying for his corporate clients the past four years to notice the positive things Vilsack has done for the economy.
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