OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — The Republican governors of Nebraska, Iowa and Michigan said Tuesday that the federal government is cramping the states' ability to create new jobs and stimulate regional economies.
Nebraska's Dave Heineman, Iowa's Terry Branstad and Michigan's Rick Snyder met in Omaha with representatives of eight other states at the beginning of a two-day summit of the National Governors Association on regional economic development.
The governors and representatives of Alabama, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, North Carolina, South Dakota, Utah and West Virginia are sharing best practices for creating jobs in their states.
Heineman, who leads the association, held a news conference with Branstad and Snyder on Tuesday, and all three said that proposals of higher taxes and more stringent regulations on businesses, as well as the Obama administration's health care overhaul, are hurting business growth in their states.
"I think you have a huge uncertainty coming from the federal government," Heineman said. "I'd like to see the federal government provide stability when it comes to taxes, regulation and health care."
Branstad said the federal health care law "would add 150,000 people to the Medicaid rolls in Iowa. It's not affordable; it's not sustainable."
The Iowa governor said his state has launched a healthy living initiative with the goal for Iowa to become the healthiest state in the nation by 2016. It's currently ranked 16th, he said. Officials hope the initiative will save the state millions of dollars in health care costs.
Snyder pointed his state's Pure Michigan Talent Connect website, intended to give employers and jobseekers a place to find each other and allow workers to assess their skills and connect with mentors and internships, as among his state's best practices on job creation.
Snyder noted that Michigan has gone from having a 14 percent unemployment rate at the height of its employment woes in the last decade to 8.5 percent unemployment now.
Snyder also suggested raising the cap for new temporary work visas for immigrant professionals and eliminating the cap for those holding a master's degree or higher from U.S. universities, opening the door for those immigrants to start businesses in Michigan and other states.
"We have many foreign nationals coming in; we're educating them, and then we tell them to get out. That's just dumb," he said. "They create jobs."