During his annual “condition of the state” message today, Governor Tom Vilsack outlined a series of proposals he says will “transform” Iowa into a vibrant, growing state. Vilsack wants to simplify the state income tax, boiling the tax form down to a postcard, and to radically change Iowa’s property tax system. He says the property tax system pays for things that aren’t involved with property, distributes credits in a haphazard manner, and creates inefficiencies in government.Vilsack proposes a half a billion dollar state fund to finance the growth of 100 “life science” companies within the next five years as well as provide investments for energy production. He’s also setting a “90/90” goal of having 90 percent of Iowa kids in preschool, and 90 percent of high school graduates get at least two years of college. Vilsack suggests incentives that’d encourage small schools to consolidate. He says we must nuture hope and opportunity, for if we remain content with the Iowa of today, we will surely compromise the Iowa of tomorrow. Republican legislators like Senate President Mary Kramer of West Des Moines were surprisingly upbeat about the agenda laid out by the democrat governor. Kramer says Republicans are anxious to “collaborate” with Vilsack on their “shared agendas” and believes that her colleagues will want to move ahead with the ideas. House Speaker Christopher Rants of Sioux City says Vilsack set the right tone. Rants says it’s going to be difficult to achieve the goals Vilsack outlined, but Rants says “we have to try.” Vilsack’s 90/90 goal of getting most young kids into preschool and most high school grads into college is a major step toward improving the state’s economy according to Senate Democrat Leader Mike Gronstal of Council Bluffs says he’s seen numbers that say another 100-thousand more college educated workers will generate 175-million more dollars in taxes..
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