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Local Editorials

Legislature closer to adjournment

We moved a few steps closer to adjournment this week when we passed three of the eleven budget bills we need to finish this year.  It’s a step in the right direction, but we’ve still got quite a bit of work to do.

There was wide, bi-partisan agreement on plans to build our skilled workforce and continue our job creation efforts.  In addition to continuing the Skilled Worker Job Creation initiatives launched last year, I’m also pleased we’re expanding apprenticeship training to help more Iowans boost their skills and land a good job.

The House also passed the budgets for agriculture, natural resources, and public safety.  While it ultimately wasn’t included in the bill this week, I was proud to support an expansion of REAP which helps protect and improve our natural resources.  We also gave another $2 million boost to our water quality efforts and plan to put more troopers on the road next year.

On Wednesday, Governor Branstad signed the Iowa Speedway bill into law.  I was excited to be part of the signing-ceremony held at Newton Manufacturing.  This bill adds 10 years to a tax rebate that was legislated in 2006, when the Iowa Speedway was first established.  It does not increase the amount of the capped rebate.   This is a significant step to ensure NASCAR’s long-term vision for the Iowa Speedway becomes reality.

This rebate is a performance-based incentive that only benefits Iowa Speedway if there is increased economic activity.  If there are no sales, there’s no sales tax.  In fact, in order to reach the cap, Iowa Speedway would need to generate three times the sales at the track that the previous owners generated. 

The recently-signed law provides for a rebate of 5% of the sales tax on goods and services sold at the Iowa Speedway, the remaining 2% will stay with the schools and local government up to $12.5 million.  Currently just over $3 million has been collected.

The rebate is a low cost, low risk performance incentive for Iowa Speedway and a win for Iowans.

An Iowa State University study indicated that the Iowa Speedway generates $50 million in annual statewide economic activity.  It fills hotels, restaurants, and generates sales in Jasper County and across the state. 

With NASCAR ownership, this legislation, and a recovering economy, we should expect this amount to increase.  Also, NASCAR will begin paying $1.4 million in local property taxes and payments as the tax abatement expires.

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I am proud to represent Newton, Baxter, Colfax, Kellogg, Lambs Grove, Mingo, Ira, Prairie City, and Valeria.  Feel free to contact me anytime via phone at 641-521-9260 or by email at Please visit my website at  ‘Friend’ me on Facebook and ‘follow’ me on Twitter.

Thank you for the opportunity to serve.

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