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Doing More to Expand Iowa's Middle Class

September 16, 2016
Steve Sodders - IA State Senator , Dysart Reporter

All Iowans deserve the chance to get ahead. That's why I support opportunities for Iowans to improve their situation and strengthen our middle class.

There is plenty of evidence that we need to do more to make our economy stronger. For example, 31 percent of Iowa households struggle to afford basic expenses, according to a report this summer from the United Way.

The United Way report spotlights a large population of hardworking Iowans in low-paying jobs, with little or no savings, and who are one emergency away from falling into poverty. These households cannot afford basic housing, child care, food, transportation and health care, even if they earn above the federal poverty level.

It doesn't help that Iowa has continued to see slow job growth since the recession. Iowa now has a jobs deficit of 32,400, according to the Iowa Policy Project. Job creation simply isn't keeping up with population growth. Manufacturing, professional and business services, information and mining have all declined in Iowa over the last year.

This year in the Legislature, I voted for more opportunities for Iowans to get ahead, including:

Keeping tuition affordable at our community colleges, the first place many Iowans go for job training and better career opportunities.

Helping our community colleges increase the number of skilled workers by:

Establishing job-training programs with local businesses.

Providing need-based financial aid to Iowans getting certified for in-demand jobs.

Expanding apprenticeships and job retraining efforts.

Helping low-skill adults complete their high school equivalency and earn postsecondary credentials.

Boosting opportunities for Career Technical Education.

Providing a tax cut to thousands of working Iowans by aligning Iowa's tax code with many federal tax changes for 2015. This "coupling" helps small businesses, farmers, teachers, college students and more.

Protecting the rights of working families by maintaining funding for wage theft investigators and inspectors to ensure the safety and health of Iowa workers.



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