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House approves sales tax rebate for Iowa Speedway

Overwhelming majority of legislators approve continuation of incentive

Published: Thursday, March 27, 2014 11:20 a.m. CDT • Updated: Thursday, March 27, 2014 11:23 a.m. CDT

Wednesday afternoon, the Iowa House of Representatives approved an extension of a sales tax rebate incentive for Iowa Speedway by a wide, bipartisan margin.

Senate File 2341, which provides for Iowa Speedway to receive a rebate on five of the seven cents in state sales tax it takes in, will now go to Gov. Terry Branstad for his likely signature. The bill passed the House 82-14; it passed Tuesday in the Senate by a 36-9 margin.

After the bill was introduced by its floor manager, Rep. Tom Sands (R-Wapello), Rep. Dan Kelley (D-Newton) spoke the House about the importance of the bill.

“The future of the Iowa Speedway will have a significant economic impact on Jasper County,” he said. “In fact, this impact will be felt state wide because the Iowa Speedway provides a $50 million boost in economic activity. This legislation will enhance the success of the speedway and will boost the local economy in Newton.”

Kelley also noted the $12.5 million cap on the incentive was not being increased. He said Iowa Speedway, under its new NASCAR ownership, would have to triple the retail sales recorded under previous ownership groups to come close to achieving the maximum rebate.

The remaining 2 cents per dollar of sales tax revenue generated by Iowa Speedway retail sales will continue to go to schools and local government. Kelley noted the incentive is performance based, meaning no rebate can be received unless the racetrack generates retail sales.

“This rebate is a low cost, low risk performance incentive for the Iowa Speedway and a win for Iowans,” he said.

Iowa Speedway President Jimmy Small said he was grateful for the support the racetrack has received, and continues to receive, from Iowans and their legislators.

“We look forward to building a strong and lasting partnership in the months and years to come as we bring a new level of racing excitement and economic opportunity to the state,” he said. “On our opening weekend, May 17-18, we will wave the green flag and usher in a new era of racing at the ‘Fastest Short Track on the Planet’ and we look forward to seeing everyone at Iowa Speedway.”

Daily News Editor Bob Eschliman may be contacted at (641) 792-3121, ext. 423, or at beschliman@newtondailynews.com.