In the midst of a gubernatorial campaign focusing on the state of the economy, one of the candidates today said “the worst is over.” Doug Gross, the Republican candidate for Governor, has focused his campaign on the state’s flagging economy and repeatedly accuses Democrat Governor Tom Vilsack of fiscal mismanagement of the state budget. On Friday, a panel of state tax experts said the state’s financial picture was brighter than earlier predicted and now, Governor Vilsack is declaring that the state has “turned the corner.” Vilsack says when the books are closed on the fiscal year that ended June 30th, the state will actually have a surplus of up to 50-million dollars. Vilsack says while other states are still struggling, he and other policymakers cut the state budget three times in that 12-month fiscal year.Vilsack says Iowa’s budget cuts were the steepest in the country. Vilsack attended an event in Ames this morning where the state’s leading insurance companies celebrated their commitment to invest 60-million dollars over the next five years in “start-up” companies. Vilsack says while other states are just now trying to find ways to deal with deficits, Iowa is “on the other side of that” and charting ideas for the future, like venture capital investments. Vilsack says Iowa employment levels are at or near record levels, which he says is another indicator of a healthy economy.
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