Tariffs hit Iowa jobs and economy from all sides

Ragan Report: Iowa workers, farmers, busi-nesses and the entire state economy are facing the fallout from an international trade war.

The U.S. has imposed tariffs on billions of dollars in Chi-nese goods, and China has responded with tariffs that hit Iowa exports especially hard. Similar standoffs are starting to emerge with other countries, including Canada and Mexico.

This is bad news. New tar-iffs on many key exports can hit Iowa hard. We’re already seeing layoffs, halted business expansions and products sell-ing for lower prices to defray the tariffs.

A recent Creighton Univer-sity survey of Midwest bank-ers found that:

• More than 80 percent think a lack of qualified work-ers is having a negative impact on local hiring.

• About 60 percent expect farm prices to decline over the next year.

• Above 83 percent are responding to weak farm in-come by rejecting more loan applications, raising interest rates, reducing loan size or increasing collateral require-ments.

In April, I joined 20 other Iowa state senators in asking President Trump to consider the negative consequences of a tariff war on Iowa farmers, rural communities and others whose livelihood is threatened.

At the state level, we can refocus our priorities and im-prove our situation by:

• Expanding affordable job training and education that build a skilled workforce.

• Enhancing what makes Iowa communities desirable places to live and work.

• Restoring fiscal discipline, and balancing the state budget.

Sen. Amanda Ragan (D-Mason City) serves Franklin, Butler and Cerro Gordo counties in Senate District 27. She can be reached at 515-281-3371 or 641-424-0874. Email her at aman-da.ragan@legis.iowa.gov.