Op-Ed: American soil should remain in American hands

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Gov. Kim Reynolds in her Condition of the State address outlined a pro-growth tax reform agenda. Reynolds is proposing the acceleration and “further reducing the flat tax transition from the current top rate of 5.7% to a 3.65% flat rate in tax year 2024, and 3.5% in 2025.” Iowa is the gold standard for state fiscal policy. Whether it is conservative budgeting, pro-growth tax reform, or limiting government, Iowa is the national leader in fiscal conservatism. Gov. Reynolds is also leading on other policy fronts, including national issues such as the growing threat of communist China.

Reynolds is working diligently to protect Iowa and the nation from the growing threat posed by China. China is a growing power. From both an economic and national security standpoint, China represents the most dangerous threat to the United States. Although China has its own internal economic and political problems, it is a growing and expanding economic and military power. China is also trying to expand its presence across the globe, including establishing a foothold in the United States.

One area of concern is Chinese ownership of farmland and other aspects of American agriculture. This is especially true with recent efforts by Chinese interests to purchase ground near military bases. “China continues to grow more aggressive, buying American land has been one of many ways they have waged this new battle,” stated Gov. Reynolds.

Currently, “Iowa has some of the strongest laws in the country on foreign ownership of land,” noted Reynolds.

Nevertheless, there are ways that state-level land ownership restrictions can be evaded by foreign “investors.” Iowa’s laws do a good job of ensuring Iowa farmland stays in the hands of domestic producers, but they should be strengthened. In addition, what is more possible for our state is that the other components of food production, like processing plants, could be acquired and controlled by foreign nations.

As a result, Reynolds argues that “as China’s threat adapts, our laws should too.” Therefore, Reynolds is proposing new legislation to “further protect our farmland from foreign interests.” The objective of this legislation will be to “enhance reporting and enforcement, increase penalties, and provide more transparency to Iowans on what land is currently under foreign ownership.”

Specifically, the proposed legislation will:

Require additional information from entities on mandatory reports filed with the Secretary of State each year, including complete ownership structure for an entity and a complete list of landholdings in the United States.Enhance enforcement by granting the Attorney General subpoena powers to further investigate suspected wrongdoing, ensuring bad actors are exposed and held accountable.Increase financial penalties for failing to register with the Secretary of State or falsifying information on registration or ongoing reports.Require the Secretary of State to file an annual report to the Governor and General Assembly on all records of foreign land ownership for both new purchases and existing land holdings.

Gov. Reynolds correctly notes that “we cannot let foreign governments undermine the agricultural dominance our farmers have worked so hard to build.”

It is not just in agriculture and land ownership that China poses a threat. For decades, the United States has been running massive trade deficits, especially with China. It is estimated that at least 4 million manufacturing jobs have been lost to China. Iowa is known as an agricultural state, but it is often forgotten that manufacturing is a major pillar of the state’s economy. Since 2001, it is estimated that Iowa has lost 33,714 jobs to China.

Protecting American sovereignty is vital, and Gov. Reynolds is working to protect not just Iowa, but the United States.

Americans should be concerned about the growing influence of China, especially in our own backyard. As Reynolds stated, “Let’s make sure that American soil remains in American hands.”

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