Stung in recent months by bad economic news, Iowa’s Governor today held a news conference to release employment numbers which he says show an economic turn-around.The Republican candidate for Governor, Doug Gross, uses a tactic employed by Ronald Reagan when Reagan ran against President Jimmy Carter during a recession. Gross asks crowds if they’re better off now than they were four years ago, when Democrat Tom Vilsack took over as Governor. In response to those digs, Vilsack is highlighting a report from the State Workforce Development agency which shows a record number of Iowans were employed in May — and their paychecks — on average — show their wages are increasing.Vilsack says those are signs the state’s economy has “turned the corner.”Vilsack says he’s insisted that state “Community Economic Betterment Account” or CEBA grants be invested in companies that pledge to create higher-paying jobs. He says when he came into state government 10 years ago the complaint was they were creating nothing but six and seven-dollar-an hour jobs. Vilsack says that’s not enough money for a family to live on, so they had to change that.Just this week, Vilsack began talking in his speeches about the “New Prosperity” he and legislators were helping to create in Iowa through a variety of initiatives, like the state’s “Vision Iowa” grants for large-scale community attractions and new tax incentives for business investment.
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