The Iowa Senate has endorsed a plan which supporters believe will spur construction of major attractions in Iowa — like a sports arena in Des Moines or an educational rainforest in Cedar Rapids. Senator Jeff Lamberti of Ankeny worries Iowa is on the decline, and he believes the big ticket projects could jump start a renaissance. He calls it a “bold step in the right direction.”The bill would provide 300-million state tax dollars for construction of attractions worth 20-million or more. No single project could get more than 75-million. Senator Matt McCoy of Des Moines said Iowa companies can’t fill high-paying jobs because potential workers think Iowa’s a cultural wasteland. He says “it’s about creating an atmosphere in this state where people want to live here.”Critics of the bill said all the benefits were for urban Iowa. Senator Steve King of Kyron said legislators were making memorials to themselves. He says “there’s no way to unravel the mess that’ll be created by this bill.”The bill also gives schools 50-million dollars in grants over the next three years to fix crumbling buildings. Senator Mike Connolly, a democrat from Dubuque, said that wasn’t enough.The bill passed at about one o’clock this morning on a 40 to nine vote. The measure also includes about 12-and-a-half million dollars for smaller community attractions. The package will next be considered by the Iowa House.
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