Gov. Terry Branstad highlighted the Home Base Iowa Act, urged tax incentives for communities to build high-speed Internet networks and recommended another tuition freeze at state universities in today's Condition of the State address.
The theme of his address was "Iowa Is Working," and Branstad spoke on a number of business-related issues.
- Branstad called Home Base Iowa the centerpiece of his agenda. Announced in November, Home Base Iowa is an effort to match military veterans with jobs in the state. The initiative aims to raise private money to support a national targeted marketing effort to bring veterans to Iowa jobs.
Elliott Smith, executive director of the Iowa Business Council, said Home Base Iowa was one of the council's top initiatives this year.
"We need population growth in Iowa to be successful for our businesses and our business growth. We are continuously looking for all the different methods and ways that we can connect with people who are exiting from the military in some form or fashion." said Teresa Wahlert, director of Iowa Workforce Development.
- The governor proposed a Connect Every Iowan Act to give targeted, time-limited and geographically limited tax incentives to encourage rural high-speed Internet networks.Broadband equipment and infrastructure installed in underserved areas between the act's effective date and Dec. 31, 2018, would be exempt from property tax.
- The governor urged the Iowa Legislature to again freeze tuition at state universities to help reduce student debt. According to the Institute for College Access and Success, an independent, nonprofit research organization, Iowa students graduate from four-year schools with an average of $29,456 in debt, the sixth-highest amount in the nation.
- Branstad wants to triple the funding for apprenticeship programs to further build the pipeline of skilled workers in the state.