Bob Vander Plaats, a Republican candidate for governor, says Iowans are “clamoring” for specifics. Vander Plaats’ G-O-P rival, Jim Nussle, said recently he’s in the listening stage of his campaign and with nearly a year to go before the Republican primary election, it’s too soon to talk about specific proposals. Vander Plaats disagrees. “Iowans are very intelligent voters,” Vander Plaats says. “They don’t want to hear platitudes. They want to hear what are some real life solutions…and what are the choices in the next leader of our state.” In education, Nussle has set the goal of making Iowa students number one in math and science in 10 years. But Vander Plaats says it’s him, not Nussle, who he has offered specifics on how to get to that goal. “I’m not sure what my opponent is offering, but what I know that I am offering is that we want high expectations…in the areas of math and science, communications and technology,” Vander Plaats says. Vander Plaats is a former teacher, coach and administrator, and he wants local schools to set individual goals for students, and then withhold some state financing from schools that fail to meet the grade. Nussle has also said he will first focus on shrinking the size of government before he’ll focus on tax reform ideas. But Vander Plaats says he’s ready to talk about tax reform, and to promise tax cuts. Vander Plaats says the state income tax is too complicated and it should be simplified. He also promises to “drastically” cut property taxes for business and industry, and to take steps that would make venture capital more available, particularly to Iowa’s small businesses. Vander Plaats had a career as an educator and coach before signing on to run a non-profit agency in Sioux City.
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