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Local News

September 23, 2011

Lt. governor talks jobs, economy

CENTERVILLE — Iowa's Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds Wednesday afternoon in Centerville talked  about jobs, the economy and fielded a question concerning Gov. Terry Branstad's campaign promise to create 200,000 new jobs in the next five years.

Appanoose County Supervisor Dean Kaster brought up the governor's pledge and asked when the jobs are doled out, that Appanoose County gets their fair share.

"If you just put the number of counties into that number, it comes up around 2,000," Kaster said. "Appanoose County is looking forward to their 2,000 jobs sometime in the next five years."

Kaster said smaller, rural areas like Appanoose County are competing with larger, consolidated areas like the "Golden Circle" around Des Moines and are losing. Not only are smaller communities losing out on jobs, they are also losing state services as they consolidate to the larger markets, he said.

"Not only does it not make sense, it's not fair to people who have lived in these communities all their lives," Kaster said. "I'd like someone to show me where the state is saving money doing this."

Reynolds said the state shouldn't pick winners and losers and make sure jobs are spread around.

"There's a lot of opportunity out there and we want to make sure that it happens all across the state," Reynolds said. "There's no reason that it can't."

Tod Faris, Appanoose Economic Development Corporation executive director, addressed the disadvantages smaller communities like Centerville face in attracting new businesses. He talked about his efforts to bring a company to Centerville while competing against a larger community in Iowa that has more to offer.

"It's not an equal playing field," Faris said.

Reynolds said the state shouldn't be in the business of creating jobs but can lower taxes and reduce rules and regulations to make Iowa a better place to start or expand a business.

"We want to create an environment where business can innovate and do what they do best and that's create jobs," she said. "We're trying to create an environment that's conducive to job growth."

Reynolds opened the town hall calling it an opportunity to listen to local feedback and talk about what she and Gov. Branstad have accomplished since taking office in January of 2011.

"That's one of the things that we're really trying hard to do, to be very accessible and very responsive to issues," Reynolds said at the outset of the town hall meeting in the lobby at the Continental Hotel.

Reynolds then went on to talk about the Branstad administration's ability to reduce the size and scope of government, develop an open, honest and transparent budgeting process, which includes dramatically stopping the use of one-time money to fund on-going state programs, implementation of job impact statements, increasing Iowan's median income by 25 percent, efforts to restore Iowa's educational leadership position and post a balanced budget.

"And we balanced the budget without raising taxes," Reynolds said. "Overall, it was a win for taxpayers of Iowa."

Reynolds' visit to Centerville was in keeping with her and Branstad's promise to visit all 99 Iowa counties every year.  The approximately 50 minute-long town hall meeting at the Continental Hotel was attended by more than 12 adults, some 20 or so Centerville High School students and Iowa Sen. Mark Chelgren.

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