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New Governors' Agendas 2011: Terry E. Branstad, Iowa

In January, new governors were inaugurated in 26 states. As the nation continues to deal with a slowly improving economy, these governors have their work cut out for them. Area Development's editor recently asked the new governors what businesses in their states could expect regarding resources, regulatory changes, and tax and financial incentives.

Editor's Note: This article is part of Area Development's Governors' Agendas series, which allows governors elected to office in 2011 to outline their business and economic development plans. View interviews with all new governors at

What resources will your administration leverage in order to attract businesses to your state?
Branstad: Iowa's job creation plan includes cutting corporate income taxes in half; bringing commercial property taxes down from 100 percent of value to 60 percent of value; transforming the Iowa Department of Economic Development into a public-private partnership; and having a jobs impact statement with every new proposal that affects economic growth in Iowa. We are also expanding Iowa's international trade and investment efforts to elevate Iowa's presence in the global marketplace.

Which particular industry sectors would be well served by your state's resources?
Branstad: Advanced manufacturing, renewable energy, biosciences, information technology, food processing, and insurance and financial services.

How will the state continue to serve its existing industry?
Branstad: Through an active network of existing industry efforts with partners at the local, regional, and state level to continue strong relationships with Iowa companies. This provides the opportunity to proactively assist with business growth and retention projects.

In today's economic environment, what is your administration's policy on financial incentives to business?
Branstad: Financial incentives are necessary to compete in today's economic development environment, but are only a part of the overall package that will make a state attractive for business. Also important are factors that Iowa possesses, such as being a right-to-work state with a low cost of doing business, pro-business government, central geographic location, and world-class work force and education systems.

Do you plan to undertake any specific initiatives to encourage businesses to locate and remain in your state?
Branstad: I am starting my administration with an in-state jobs tour consisting of a series of town hall meetings to be held statewide. This will provide an excellent opportunity for the Lieutenant Governor and me to network with Iowans throughout the state to discuss plans for growing the Iowa economy. This is a first step. We will continue to have an active existing industry program to assist Iowa companies with future growth, as well as domestic and international marketing efforts focused on targeted industry prospects.

Are there any changes to your state's tax and/or regulatory code that you are proposing in order to encourage business development?
Branstad: As stated, I am working to cut corporate income taxes in half and bring commercial property taxes down from 100 percent of value to 60 percent of value.

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