Governor Chet Culver went to the northeast Iowa town where the Sylvester Stallone movie "F.I.S.T" was filmed three decades ago to sign a bill into law that backers hope will help attract more movie-makers to Iowa. "Now Iowa will be in a much more competitive place with some of our neighbors who have been getting a lot more of that business," Culver says.
The new law provides a tax credit to investors in Iowa-made movies, as well as a tax break on the goods and services movie companies use while filming here. "We kind of went a little beyond some other states," Culver says. "The point of the legislation is really to not only attract economic development and outside investment into Iowa, but it’s mostly an opportunity to really showcase Iowa."
According to Culver, the ongoing popularity of the baseball field featured in the movie "Field of Dreams" illustrates how big screen success can translate into tourism. "That is a movie that has left a great, indelible imprint on the minds of people across the country and around the world," Culver says.
The governor says making movies in Iowa is "a wonderful way to sell Iowa and to show off our beauty, and hopefully create at the same time some wonderful new jobs."
Culver was in Dubuque yesterday to host "Capitol for a Day" events there. Culver says he wanted to signal that the "good working relationship" between state officials and Dubuque-area developers would continue in his administration. According to the governor, the expansion of the state tax credit for preserving historic sites has really helped Main Street in Dubuque as did the infusion of millions of dollars in state grant money for construction of the new Mississippi River Museum along Dubuque’s riverfront.
Mike Blouin, the former Iowa Department of Economic Development director who ran against Culver last spring and lost in the Democratic primary, is now leading Dubuque area economic development efforts — but he wasn’t in Dubuque yesterday to meet with Culver. Culver says Blouin was in New York City on a "Sell Iowa" trip.