The second bill introduced in the Iowa House after the new legislative session opened seeks to restore a major economic development fund. The Iowa Supreme Court threw out a wide-ranging law this summer that had — among many other things — created a half a billion dollar state economic development program called the Iowa Values Fund. The head of Iowa’s Economic Development Department says seed money is the number on need for most new companies. Mike Blouin says while republicans want to pair the values fun with regulatory reform — the business grants are the most important component. He says they do hear complaints on the regulatory, and the vast majority have to do with the process. He says the vast majority of Iowans believe we need to protect the air and water. He says he doesn’t think they have a problem with the standard, but they do with the process. Blouin says the state is working to reduce the time it takes to approve government permits for business. State Representative Clarence Hoffman, a republican from Red Oak, says deciding how to pay for the fund is the sticking point. Hoffman favors borrowing the money. He says he believes bonding is the way to go with interest rates low. Hoffman says some republicans are concerned about using borrowed money to invest in companies that may fail. But he says the state has very little bond debt and can afford to take that risk.
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