A bill on the fast-track in the Iowa Legislature could offer a key element in a state package of incentives to try to keep the Wells Dairy headquarters in LeMars. Republican Representative Clarence Hoffman of Charter Oak says Iowa’s in a race with other states who’re making a bid for the dairy’s executive suite. Hoffman says the part of the company that may be leaving employs highly-paid managers, and he says those are the kind of jobs lawmakers want to keep in Iowa. The deal in the works attempts to ensure Wells would qualify for substantial state sales tax breaks on the materials used to construct a new headquarters even if Wells leases the facility. Hoffman says a leased building looks completely different on a company’s balance sheet and companies like Wells are interested in everything to bolster the bottom line. House Speaker Christopher Rants, a republican from Sioux City, says while Wells Dairy, which markets Blue Bunny ice cream, is the impetus for the deal, the tax breaks envisioned would apply to any other business that plans to lease an expensive new building. Yesterday, though, Rants and other key lawmakers met privately with Wells Dairy executives and Rants says state officials want to do everything they can to ensure Wells stays in LeMars.Rants says Wells Blue Bunny is a “fantastic corporate citizen in northwest Iowa.” He says Wells is a family-owned business that’s “a home-grown success story” and offers good-paying jobs. Rants says it’s important to keep the “decision-makers” in LeMars. Rants says “that’s the hard lesson northwest Iowa learned when we lost Gateway.” Gateway’s executives are now based in California. Rants aims to get the deal gets approved by the legislature this week; the bill will be considered this morning in committees in the House and Senate. Sources say Wells Dairy is likely to be considered for a state economic development grant later this week from the state’s new “Iowa Values” fund.
You are here: / / Bill could help convince the Blue Bunny not to hop out of Iowa