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April 6th, 2010

Gibbons: Watch our Future Grow, Not Go

Gibbons Head ShotSpring is upon us, at last, and that means graduation is close behind. Soon high schoolers and college grads in Iowa will be donning their cap and gowns to receive their diplomas. But their future in Iowa is not as bright as it once was. Unemployment in Iowa has increased again. This is troubling.

In my own life, I have experienced what the effect of high unemployment can have in this state. When I graduated from Iowa State in the early 1980’s during the farm crisis, my friends and I faced few job prospects. All of us were from Iowa. We grew up in Iowa and wanted to raise our families here. However, I was the only one to land a job here, when Iowa State offered me an opportunity to coach wrestling. My friends were not so fortunate. They left Iowa to take jobs around the country. While we have remained friends over the years, they have never returned to live in Iowa.

As a father of teenagers who will be graduating in the next few years, I am concerned for the future of my children here in Iowa. Opportunities for our youth are just not there as they once were, leading to a mass exodus of our kids to other states where there are jobs. Come graduation day, Iowa’s future will be heading down I-80 and our leaders are doing nothing to stop it.

Iowa businesses face an environment fraught with uncertainty. It would be like walking into a restaurant without prices on the menu. If you are on a tight budget, you are ordering the chicken. Businesses want to know how much the health care bill will impact their business. How much will the stimulus bill cost them? What about the insistence on passing a cap and trade bill? What about all the taxes that go along with these new measures? Faced with this uncertainty, businesses instead hold on to their capital. Businesses don’t expand their operations or hire new employees. Uncertainty like this is the biggest job killer out there. Give entrepreneurs a stable market environment and they will thrive.

If companies know they will have more money to spend they will spend that money to hire new employees and grow their business. My experience in the 1980’s tells me that if we keep our younger Iowans in the Iowa workforce, they will stay in Iowa. And they will raise their children in Iowa. This is good for the future of our state.

Meanwhile, in Washington, liberals like Nancy Pelosi and Leonard Boswell have passed a $15 billion “Jobs Bill.” We all know what type of jobs this will create – government jobs. We also know who will have to pay for this spending program – the very businesses that are trying to hold together their payroll and employees.

Liberals like Leonard Boswell have squandered the last 17 months creating an environment of uncertainty. Jobs are the priority. Jobs must be the priority. It is time to send someone to Washington who can focus on the problems we face in Iowa. Our children’s future depends on it.

Jim Gibbons is running for Congress in the Iowa 3rd Congressional District

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