Here in Iowa, we are happy that so many around the nation and around the world are picking up on something we've long known to be true: Our state is a place where business can thrive due to an overall low cost of doing business, ready access to capital, a skilled and educated work force, accessible state leaders and a regulatory environment that encourages growth.
Our state is one of few where fertile farmland stands alongside a business climate that dominates in the manufacturing, biosciences and financial services industries. While we are known for our role as the nation's agricultural leader, we are just as proud of the innovation and diversity of our economy that will help drive our nation into the future.
We work tirelessly to attract new employers to our state and to encourage the employers that already exist here to expand their operations. We know that our economy is only as strong as the businesses that operate within it. What's more, these efforts are paying off.
In the last year, our success in attracting business in Iowa has made nationwide news on a regular basis. In fact, since taking office in January 2011, we have assisted projects to locate or expand in Iowa that will result in more than $7 billion in capital investment to the state.
A look at some very recent examples:
- Last month, Microsoft announced a $700 million investment in a West Des Moines data center expansion project.
- Google recently announced plans to expand facilities in Council Bluffs, bringing the company's total investment in Iowa to $1.5 billion.
- Facebook made waves when it announced plans to locate a data center in Altoona, an investment that could eventually exceed $1 billion.
The interest in Iowa doesn't stop with high-tech data centers:
- MidAmerican Energy recently announced plans to invest nearly $2 billion in an Iowa wind farm, helping the state to provide even more affordable, clean energy to individuals and businesses alike.
We are proud that these companies across the state are creating new jobs, spurring new investment and generating new revenue here in our state. We've worked hard to establish a government structure that encourages such investment through strategic tax incentives and direct assistance designed to yield maximum benefit to both the companies locating in Iowa and to the state itself.
We're prioritizing job growth and a business-friendly environment on all fronts, as evidenced by the landmark property tax reform measure our state legislature passed in May. This reform will significantly reduce taxable assessments for commercial properties and offer tax credits for small businesses.
Businesses are finding that when they locate or expand in Iowa, they have high skilled and hard working employees at the ready to meet work force demands. I'm proud to support the Skilled Iowa initiative that helps to prepare Iowans for careers and connect skilled Iowans to employers.
As thrilled as we are about new investments, we also treasure the enterprises that have called Iowa home for generations, and encourage the many start-up companies building their businesses here. The entrepreneurial spirit in Iowa is strong, and we highly value the state's rising start-up scene. Our culture of innovation is helping promising new endeavors get off of the ground.
We are proud of our track record, and we are excited about our path forward. Iowa is more than just a great place to raise a family. It's a great place to do business, and a great place to establish roots for the future.
—By Iowa Gov. Terry E. Branstad
Read more blogs from U.S. governors here.