- Associated Press - Thursday, December 18, 2014

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - Iowa should invest more in business development, education and infrastructure to boost the state’s economy, according to a new report released Thursday.

The report, done by the nonprofit Battelle Memorial Institute, was commissioned last year by an economic advisory board co-chaired by Gov. Terry Branstad.

Overall, the state has seen job growth and an increase in wages in recent years, the report said, but there is room for improvement. As of 2013, the state ranked 23rd nationally for per-capita income. The average wage for a private-sector worker in Iowa was $40,489, below the national average of $49,700.

Recommendations in the report included simplifying the state tax code and better fund programs that offer support to businesses, like one that gives consulting to mid-sized companies. It suggests increasing educational opportunities to develop more skilled workers, including creating more internship and apprenticeship programs.

The report also cites the state’s infrastructure needs, stressing the need for more funding for roads and better broadband infrastructure across the state - both of which are expected to be priorities for Branstad going into the next legislative session.

Branstad praised the recommendations in a statement, saying “we now have a roadmap for the future.”

The report was paid for by MidAmerican Energy and the Iowa Business Council. The initial estimate for the study was $400,000.

Economic Development Authority spokeswoman Tina Hoffman said she did not have an updated cost figure.

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