Iowa’s Governor, a backer of democratic presidential candidate John Kerry, is challenging President Bush’s analysis of Iowa’s economy. During recent speeches in Iowa, Bush has touted Iowa’s low unemployment rate and the creation of 11,000 jobs in Iowa the past year as evidence his federal tax cuts are stimulating an economic recovery here. During a speech this weekend in Sioux City, Bush said the economy was strong and getting stronger “because of well-timed tax cuts.” Bush said the Iowa unemployment rate of four-point-three percent is well below the national unemployment rate. But Governor Tom Vilsack, a democrat, says Bush and Vice President Cheney are “off-base” to suggest the Bush-era tax cuts have stimulated Iowa’s economy. Vilsack says if tax cuts were the key, Iowa ought to have an unemployment rate of zero since taxes have been cut by $900 MILLION annually here in Iowa. Vilsack says the recovery in Iowa isn’t about tax policy. Vilsack says Iowa’s economy started to rebound when state government launched the “Vision Iowa” program that stimulated millions of dollars worth of community construction projects. Vilsack says 12,000 construction workers got jobs on those projects. He says state government lowered the premium tax on Iowa-based insurance companies. but in return those companies were forced to spend more money on “venture capital” projects in Iowa. And Vilsack says he’s willing to give Bush credit for creating a huge federal budget deficit, but is unwilling to give Bush credit for creating the jobs connected to awards from the state economic development “Iowa Values” Fund.
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