Returning last week to the Capitol for the 2020 Legislative Session, there was an abundance of enthusiasm in the Senate Chamber. I share in my colleagues' eagerness to keep working on legislation to help grow Iowa and make it the best state in the nation.
A plethora of opportunities lies ahead of us this session: Improve mental health, fully fund our commitments to education, expand the workforce, continue to make strides with water quality, and continue to ease the tax burden on hard-working Iowans. I believe we can continue to build on the momentum from the last three years and keep making strides to create an Iowa where people want to work, live, raise families and even retire.
When we took the majority in 2017, our state budget had a deficit over $100 million. Today, it has a surplus of hundreds of millions of dollars. Additionally, Iowa boasts the second lowest unemployment rate in the country, and it is rated one of the top states for opportunity. These are the result of pro-growth policies we passed, including the largest tax cut in state history.
Our revenues are strong. We are in a sound financial position. Our tax plan is working, and it is imperative we keep moving forward. It is our responsibility to continue to look at important reforms such as funding mental health, reducing property taxes, removing barriers to increase our workforce and improving the quality of life so more people want to move here and stay here.
Since my first day in the Iowa Senate, I have stressed states which experience the most significant growth have little or no state income tax. I will continue work toward that goal while ensuring our state's priorities and commitments to Iowans are met.
Maintaining this course for Iowa is the right thing to do for our state and the great people who call it home. It is important for every Iowan to be excited for what the future holds for them and their families. And, that is why we are excited to continue to make our vision a reality.