Chambers of Commerce from the state’s 17 largest cities are joining forces to lobby for more state money for urban areas. The “Iowa Chamber Alliance” wants metro areas to get more road construction money, which would require a re-write of the state’s gas tax distribution formula that would take cash from rural areas. The group also 30-MILLION more dollars plugged into the “Vision Iowa” program that provides state money to large-scale community projects, like the Iowa Events Center in Des Moines. Siouxland Chamber of Commerce vice president Barbara Sloniker says the ideas are meant to stimulate economic growth.Sloniker says the things we’ve been doing as a state aren’t working anymore, and changes are needed. The group says Iowa has more layers of government than any other state, and it’s time to change state law to make it easier for cities, counties and other government units to mergeSiouxland Chamber of Commerce chairman Skip Perley admits it’s a little strange to be making some of the same points made by Siouxland Chamber president Debi Durham, who was the unsuccessful Republican candidate for Lieutenant Governor.Perley says they’re not blaming anyone for the state’s economic downturn, and hope their ideas will start a dialoge about growing the state. The Iowa Chamber Alliance is also seeking more state money for the Department of Economic Development, which had huge budget cuts during the state’s financial crisis, and the group wants economic development programs at the state universities to get more money, too. The Iowa Chamber Alliance represents the cities of Ames, Bettendorf, Burlington, Cedar Falls, Cedar Rapids, Clinton, Council Bluffs, Davenport, Des Moines, Dubuque, Fort Dodge, Iowa City, Marshalltown, Mason City, Ottumwa, Sioux City and Waterloo.
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