State officials Tuesday warned Iowa lawmakers not to shut off the tap on economic development spending, promising more proof that the Iowa Values Fund is doing its job. State economic-development director Mike Blouin says the board will approve several new projects next week, creating more jobs for Iowa workers. Blouin says “this thing’s off and running,” and the fund is starting to work. Testifying before the house and senate economic growth committees, Blouin warned lawmakers not to borrow from the Values Fund to pay for K-12 education. He says Iowa is attracting businesses with the program but will lose credibility if the funding dries up. Meanwhile the chair of the Iowa Values fund, Craig Lang, tried to assure legislators the program’s not just for the benefit of the state’s big urban areas. He says it’s not urban or rural, the fund is for all Iowans, and wherever it’s applied, the money will have a significant economic effect for all the state. Lang says there’s “significant economic development going on in every corner of the state” because of the values fund. Some lawmakers have complained that most the awards made so far have benefited companies in Iowa’s larger cities like Des Moines, Marshalltown, and Council Bluffs. But Lang, who is also president of the Iowa Farm Bureau, says Iowa Values Fund has freed up other economic-development dollars for rural communities and value-added agriculture projects. He points to recent awards in Alden, Brooklyn, Colo, Edgewood, Coggon, New Hampton, and Cherokee.
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