Branstad focuses on successes in bid for sixth term
FORT?DODGE-Touting his record of property tax cuts and vowing to find more ways to build up Iowa’s economy, Gov. Terry Branstad on Saturday asked Webster County voters to re-elect him.
The Republican governor said he’ll fight to maintain a strong Renewable Fuels Standard that’s key to the state’s ethanol industry.
He also outlined his plan to attract veterans to Iowa.
”I pledge to you that I will continue to work hard to build a bright future for all,” Branstad told about 40 people gathered at the offices of Decker Truck Line Inc., 4000 Fifth Ave. S.
Branstad also compared Iowa’s government to the federal government.
”What we are doing works,” he said. ”What they’re doing in Washington is nothing more than attacking and blaming each other and the country’s going deeper in debt.”
Branstad’s Fort Dodge visit was part of a statewide tour announcing his bid for a sixth term.
”I’ve never lost in Webster County,” he said. ”Not too many Republicans can say that.”
He reminded the audience that last year a major property tax overhaul became law, fulfilling one of his top goals for the state.
”When you get your tax bill next fall, you’ll see the difference,” he said.
”We really believe this is going to be a real incentive for more development and more businesses in our state,” he added.
Branstad said he’s now working with officials from other states in a bipartisan way to attempt to stop a change in the Renewable Fuels Standard.
That’s a federal rule that requires the use of 18.15 billion gallons of ethanol annually.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced in November 2013 a plan to change that standard so that 15.21 billion gallons of ethanol is required in 2014.
”I don’t know why now they would buckle under to the big lies of Big Oil and reduce the Renewable Fuels Standard,” he said.
He recapped the key points of his proposed Home Base Iowa plan to draw veterans to the state to bolster the work force.
That proposal would eliminate the state income tax on military pensions, provide in-state tuition rates for veterans and their spouses at community colleges and regents universities, provide college credit for skills learned in the military and make it easier for veterans to receive professional licenses from state agencies.
”We’re very optimistic that we can literally attract thousands of veterans to come to Iowa,” he said.
He added that Home Base Iowa received the ”strongest bipartisan endorsement” he’s ever received for any proposal he’s introduced during the annual Condition of the State Address.
Following his speech, Branstad said it will take a bipartisan agreement to increase the state’s tax on a gallon of gasoline.
He said that unlike his Democratic predecessor, former Gov. Chet Culver, he has not pledged to veto a gasoline tax increase.
He added that $700 million will be spent on the state’s primary highway network this year.
”That’s an all-time record,” he said.
The governor said school districts are assured of receiving a 4 percent increase in supplemental state aid to public schools this year.
Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds was expected to join Branstad at Saturday’s event, but she was ill.
Branstad and Reynolds are unopposed for the Republican nomination. State Sen. Jack Hatch, D-Des Moines, and Paul Dahl, of Webster City, are seeking the Democratic nomination for governor.
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