Fairfield Ledger

Mt. Pleasant News   Wash Journal
Neighbors Growing Together | Aug 16, 2018

Bad decisions hit Iowa’s economy from all sides

By Rich Taylor | Aug 02, 2018

Iowa workers, farmers, businesses and our entire state economy are facing the fallout from an international trade war.

The U.S. has imposed tariffs on billions of dollars in Chinese goods, and China has responded with tariffs that hit Iowa exports especially hard. Similar standoffs are starting to emerge with other countries, including Canada and Mexico.

This is bad news at a time when:

· Misplaced priorities, broken promises and fiscal mismanagement have left Iowa in a budget crisis.

· Iowa’s economic momentum is among the slowest in the country—with slow growth in personal income, employment and population.

· Crop prices are dropping, and land prices are going up.

Add new tariffs on many key exports, and Iowa could take a big hit. We’re seeing layoffs, halted business expansions, and products selling for lower prices to defray the tariffs.

Iowa and other Midwest bankers are losing optimism, and that translates into tighter reins on the cash Iowans need to stay in business. A recent Creighton University survey of Midwest bankers found that:

· More than 80 percent think a lack of qualified workers is having a negative impact on local hiring.

· About 60 percent expect farm prices to decline over the next year.

· Above 83 percent are responding to weak farm income by rejecting more loan applications, raising interest rates, reducing loan size or increasing collateral requirements.

Iowans should be in a much better position than this.

At the federal level, we could have avoided a trade war. In April, I joined 20 other Iowa state senators in asking President Trump to consider the negative consequences of a tariff war on Iowa farmers, rural communities and others whose livelihood is threatened.

At the state level, we can refocus our priorities and improve our situation by:

· Expanding affordable job training and education that build a skilled workforce.

· Enhancing what makes Iowa communities desirable places to live and work.

· Restoring fiscal discipline, and balancing the state budget.


— Sen. Rich Taylor represents Henry and Lee counties and portions of Washington and Jefferson counties.

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