Branstad announces 2016 agenda

Gov. Terry Branstad announced Tuesday in his Condition of the State address – delivered at a joint session of the Legislature – a sensible plan of action for 2016. The governor’s agenda for the year ahead and beyond gives a high priority to:

Strengthening various aspects of our state’s educational system including job training programs.

Enhancing and expanding initiatives to improve water quality.

Continuing the already robust growth in job opportunities for Iowans.

Reforming the state’s criminal justice system.

Branstad emphasized that accomplishing worthy goals in each of these areas is achievable if there is broad bipartisan cooperation in the Capitol.

“When we work together, challenges are overcome, results are delivered and Iowans have a government that works for them,” the governor said. “When we fail to work together, challenges become steeper, results are fleeting and the government fails the very people we should be serving.”

Here is just some of what the governor says has been accomplished in the last five years:

The Hawkeye State has among the nation’s soundest budgeting practices. It has been ranked No. 3 among the 50 states in terms of its management prowess.

The cash reserve and economic emergency accounts are in superb shape.

The Iowa economy has added 214,000 new jobs.

Our state has the lowest unemployment rate since 2001.

Family incomes have increased 18.3 percent since 2001.

Private capital investment in Iowa has been a remarkable $12 billion.

State funding for K-12 education is up 35 percent since 2010.

The progress that has been made since Branstad returned to the governor’s chair has set the stage for even greater achievement. Iowa is well-positioned to address the areas the governor has set as priorities because he and his team have been skillful managers of the state government.

The Messenger applauds Branstad for his hard work and commends him for the vision shown in his address. The governor has challenged the state’s lawmakers – indeed implored all Iowans – to work collaboratively so that the future of the Hawkeye State will be splendid. Now it’s time to get to work to turn his excellent game plan into a success story.