The Iowa Department of Economic Development has released a report on the job-creation record of the “Iowa Values Fund” and the record doesn’t match the rhetoric of the fund’s biggest backer.
The Values Fund has been at the center of the debate among the candidates for governor. Republican nominee Jim Nussle promises to get rid of it. Democratic nominee Chet Culver has expressed concerns about the program and vows to make changes if he’s elected.
The report from the state agency that oversees the Iowa Values Fund shows about 53-hundred jobs have been created by the nearly 200 new or expanding companies that have received Values Fund awards over the past three years. The D-E-D contends another 27-hundred jobs also have been retained. Two dozen companies have failed to meet their job-creation promises or returned the state grant money.
The job numbers cited in the agency’s report fail to match the claims of Governor Tom Vilsack who has repeatedly said the businesses which have received Values Fund grants have “created or retained” 25-thousand jobs. In a written statement released Monday afternoon, Vilsack said “the Values Fund and other state economic development programs are continuing to produce results” but Vilsack concedes now that there are only a little more than eight-thousand jobs “realized” to date, with 17-thousand other jobs “in the pipeline.”
In the statement, Vilsack said “the Values Fund is one of the reasons Iowa is adding jobs faster than any other state in the Midwest and currently has a record number of employed Iowans.”