Governor Branstad says state officials should be able to cut taxes and raise teacher pay next year.
“I think we can do both,” Branstad said this morning during his weekly news conference “I think we can reform and improve education and I think we can also reduce the tax burden and make Iowa more competitive.”
Branstad called the education reform plan that cleared the just-concluded 2012 Iowa legislature a “modest first step.”
“I’m disappointed that they didn’t do something more bold, but I also understand people are very fearful of change, but people love progress,” Branstad said, “and they want to see Iowa again #1 in the nation in education and we’re now in the middle of the pack.”
The legislature’s top Republican has said lawmakers should be able to devise a tax cut of at least $390 million. The governor said it’s too early to talk about the size of the tax cut promise Republicans will make to voters this fall.
“Let’s wait ’til we have the opportunity to lay these things out in the months ahead,” Branstad said.
Branstad isn’t ready to talk about his teacher pay plans either.
“Let’s not judge next year ’til we get there,” Branstad said. “…I’ve already got some ideas I’m mulling over on things we can do to redirect resources to make a difference and you’ll hear those things as we go forward during this summer and fall, but hey — I accept what we got this year. It’s not enough, but it’s a start. I think we can do a lot better.”
Branstad is scheduled to be in Fort Dodge this afternoon at a groundbreaking for C.J. Biosciences, a South Korean company. The company’s $324 million facility will produce amino acids for use in animal fee. Company officials expect the plant to open in December of next year, employing up to 180 people.
AUDIO of Branstad’s news conference, runs 21 min.