Culver touts Iowa’s economic achievements
Iowa is “leading the nation out of the recession,” Gov. Chet Culver told the Iowa General Assembly in his final Condition of the State address this morning.
“Our job creation and workforce development efforts are now paying big dividends,” Culver said. “In fact, our unemployment rate is now at 6.6 percent, or 33 percent below the national average, and the seventh-lowest in the nation.”
Iowa has now regained more than one-third of the jobs lost during the recession, Culver said, “and just last week it was reported that that we’re now on track to reach pre-recession employment levels by the third quarter of 2012.”
During the nearly one-hour speech, Culver reviewed his administration’s successes, highlighting advances in renewable energy, education, jobs development and disaster recovery.
“We have accomplished our goal of becoming the renewable energy capital of the United States,” Culver said, noting that the state now produces an estimated 20 percent of its power from renewable sources. Also, Culver said, Iowa is one of only two states that manufacture all three major components of wind turbines – towers, turbines and blades. More than 4,700 windmills are now operating statewide, with 40 new wind farms developed in the past four years.
“We’ve also helped increase production of biofuels statewide by supporting and expanding tax credits for biodiesel, ethanol and E-85 at the federal and state level,” he said.
Culver noted that 13 of the state’s 19 largest companies reported double-digit stock gains last year, and that Iowa is the only state to post 14 consecutive months of sustained economic growth. “These positive signs, coupled with our $950 million surplus, clearly show the strength of Iowa’s economy,” he said.
To view a video of the speech, visit www.iptv.org.