The board which will distribute the millions in state financing for major cultural and sports projects made a major decision today. The “Vision Iowa” board will hand out nearly 200-million dollars for projects like sports arenas and museums. The board has decided NOT to set any wage restrictions for construction workers or employees of the winning projects. A few members of the “Vision Iowa” board wanted to ensure those who worked on the projects would make at least six-dollars-and-88 cents an hour, but one board member said the minimum wage of five-50 was appropriate for the college kids and others who would do things like run a concession stand. Any wage above the minimum, he said, might be detrimental to the financial success of the projects. Nearly every other state grant and loan requires some sort of wage guarantee. And workers in state-licensed casinos are required to make more than seven dollars an hour. The “Vision Iowa” board also voted 7-2 to give extra points in the application process to non-smoking facilities. Board Chairman Michael Gartner says the rules would compliment state policy to try and get people to quit smoking.Gartner owns the Iowa Cubs and says a ban on smoking in Sec Taylor Stadium hasn’t hurt attendance. Board member Sharon Juon of Waterloo says the policy may handicap certain big-ticket projects looking for state money.Juon said current state smoking regulations should be satisfactory. Both Gartner and Juon agreed that no grant would hinge on whether the facility was smoke free.
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