Governor Terry Branstad is using his “Condition of the State” speech to press for education reform and economic development initiatives, plus he’s submitting a budget plan to legislators this morning, two weeks ahead of the deadline.
Branstad is recommending that state spending increase by 3.8 percent in the next fiscal year that begins July 1, 2012. His plan calls for spending more than $6.2 billion in general state tax dollars. State gambling revenue and other funds are separate from that figure.
On the economic development front, Branstad wants legislators to set aside $25 million for a grant program targeting businesses that pay high salaries. In addition, Branstad wants new tax breaks for businesses that make components for large manufacturers, like John Deere. The governor’s chief of staff describes it as encouraging “supply chain clusters”.
Branstad is also asking legislators to allow employees in the reconfigured state economic development agency to provide technical assistance that would help business owners sell their companies to employees, through stock option plans.
Branstad revealed his education reform package last week, so those details will not be a surprise to legislators. Branstad’s chief of staff made clear the governor is not going to recommend any changes to the state-funded preschool program for four-year-olds.
Branstad yesterday revealed details of his revamped commercial property tax relief proposal. It calls for reducing commercial property taxes by 40 percent over an eight year period, plus the phase-down would be halted in year four if local governments aren’t seeing an increase in commercial property tax payments due to business and job growth.