‘This is game-changing’

Durham touts economic strengths of Iowa; State official was keynote speaker at Gowrie event

-Submitted photo
Debi Durham, director of the Iowa Economic Development Authority, speaks Thursday evening at the spring banquet of the Gowrie Development Commission in the Heartland Community Room. She gave an overview of trends in economic development throughout the state.

GOWRIE — Iowa is well positioned to grow its businesses and welcome new residents, the state’s top economic development official told a Gowrie audience Thursday.

Debi Durham, the director of the Iowa Economic Development Authority, gave an overview of her agency’s work during the spring banquet of the Gowrie Development Commission.

”It’s about creating an economic development climate in which our business can prosper,” she said.

She noted that the state’s government emerged from the COVID-19 pandemic in better shape than many others, which benefits the economy as a whole.

”Our fiscal house was in order,” she said. ”We don’t spend everything we take in.”

She said a tax cut recently signed into law place Iowa 38th out of the 50 state in terms of ”tax climate.” Among other things, the cut reduces the personal income tax rate to 3.9 percent.

”This is game-changing for us,” she said. ”We are going to be able to compete.”

Iowa has long had a shortage of skilled workers and bringing more people to the state is viewed as a way to help solve that problem.

Durham said her agency recently did some research to first, see if people were thinking differently about where they live following the pandemic, and second, to see if they would consider moving to Iowa.

She said the research showed that seven of 10 people surveyed said they would consider relocating.

She said those people did not have a negative opinion of Iowa. In fact, she said, they knew almost nothing about the state

”We have not been properly introduced,” she said.

To help solve that shortcoming, she said federal COVID relief money was used to film a commercial showcasing the state. Called ”This is Iowa,” it can be viewed at businessiowa.com.

To grow their community, Durham urged the leaders of Gowrie to continue their efforts on housing, trails and broadband connectivity.

”Keep pushing on what you’re doing,” she said.


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