Governor Terry Branstad says a program that distributes state grants and loans to businesses which promise to locate or expand in Iowa will survive. Republicans in the Iowa House had voted to shut-down what has been known as the Grow Iowa Values Fund, criticizing it as a government program that picks winners and losers, but Branstad says it will continue.
“It’s going to be by a different name and there will be funds available for economic development projects,” Branstad says.
Senate Democrats had embraced the continuation of the Grow Iowa Values Fund, a name established during former Governor Tom Vilsack’s tenure. Branstad says the name’s not that important, but the ability to use state grants and loans to encourage businesses to choose Iowa as a place to expand or locate is important.
“It’s gone through many name changes over the years and I don’t think people are focused on what the name of it is,” Branstad says. “It’s more: Does the state have some resources to help with forgivable loans or grants…that can help in an economic development project?” Branstad says House Republicans have agreed to set aside $15-million for such state grants and loans.
Branstad and Senate Democrats had originally proposed $25-million, although Democrats had dedicated a portion of that to community college programs that’re related to economic development. Under the plan Branstad announced today, all $15-million would be controlled and distributed by the Iowa Department of Economic Development.