The Generation Iowa Commission released their recommendations today to keep more young people in Iowa. The commission was created by the 2007 Legislature after a record number of young people took office in the Iowa House of Representatives.
State Representatives Elesha Gayman of Davenport, Andrew Wenthe of Hawkeye, McKinley Bailey of Webster City, and Tyler Olson of Cedar Rapids, are all 30 years old or younger and sponsored the Generation Iowa bill.
Bridging Iowa’s Wage Gap and Reducing Student Loan Debt
· Create a higher education tax credit, a roll-over tax credit based on Iowa residency with a 10-year window for individuals age 35 and under who have earned a bachelor’s degree within the previous 10 years.
· Create a targeted student loan repayment assistance program, a progressive schedule of student loan repayments, based on Iowa residency and employment in a critical needs profession to be determined by state officials. Eligibility would be limited to those individuals age 35 and under, living in Iowa, and working in Iowa in the capacity required in accordance with a critical needs profession designation. This program should not be limited in any way based on where the person went to school.
· Adjust Iowa’s tax incentives structure, redefining the Grow Iowa Values Fund wage thresholds to only consider the company’s average wage instead of allowing calculations of average wage and benefits. The commission also recommends that the Iowa Department of Economic Development should give priority to job creation projects that have wage projections that are at least 145 percent of the county’s average wage.
· Increase Medicaid reimbursement rates.
· Eliminate the income limit on the student loan tax deduction.
· Require Iowa’s higher education institutions to provide students with differences between federal and private loans, a monthly student loan payment estimate, and reasonable student loan indebtedness counseling.
Expanding Iowa’s Career Pathways
· Create a full-tuition, merit-based scholarship program with a residency expectation to retain the state’s most exemplary students.
· Eliminate “non-compete” clauses from state government contracts and limit the enforceability of private contracts.
· Create or support an online, statewide job and internship bank.
· Expand the Accelerated Career Education program to include Iowa’s growth and critical needs professions, and allow four-year colleges and universities offering specific advanced degrees to participate in the program.
· Encourage a greater number of government contracts to be given to businesses owned by Iowans age 35 and under.
· Amend State Boards and Commissions requirements to demand more voting members age 35 and under and encourage local communities to self-impose the same.
· Find ways to encourage/develop/market agricultural career pathways beyond traditional farming (i.e. renewable energy, agricultural sector insurance and financing, etc.)
Investing in Quality of Life Issues and Amenities for Young People
· Develop pathways for interaction amongst young Iowans by embracing community development principles; promoting social, cultural and entertaining events, social networking Web sites and networking opportunities; and exploring ways to maintain high school and college alumni networks.
· Encourage families to recruit their loved ones back to Iowa.
· Expand the state’s commitment to attraction programs like the Vision Iowa, Main Street and the Community Attraction and Tourism programs to continue developing cultural, recreational and entertainment opportunities.
· Develop infrastructure necessary to provide statewide access to high-speed Internet.
· Provide additional assistance to communities for ongoing festivals and events that utilize the input of Iowans age 35 and under.
· Create a framework to direct state resources to support the development of green and sustainable communities – both urban and rural.
· Work to coordinate all social events and opportunities in Iowa through a unified, statewide website for young Iowans: GenerationIowa.com.
Improving State Image Through Effective Marketing
· Develop and provide adequate funding for an in-state and national marketing campaign to change Iowa’s image amongst young adults with consultation from the Generation Iowa Commission.
· Increase funding for Iowa’s tourism industry to encourage more people to see what Iowa is really like.
· In all marketing efforts, strive to depict Iowa’s true diversity in any and all categories.
· Create a Generation Iowa Commission Award that annually recognizes a business, industry, or organization that exemplifies best practice in the attraction and retention of young professionals.