The Iowa League of Cities is proposing increases in the state cigarette and alcohol taxes to help finance a five-hundred million dollar state economic development fund. The proposal is an alternative to the Iowa Farm Bureau’s plan which calls for a fund that’s four times as large, and would be financed by a statewide property tax. Iowa League of Cities executive director Tom Bredeweg says five-hundred million is more realistic than two-billion.Bredeweg says if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. He says there is no such thing as a free lunch, and even though people who buy state bonds will help build the fund, taxpayers will have to pay up, too. He says it does not mean we don’t need to make any investments, he says they’re concerned to hear figures just being thrown around.The Farm Bureau suggests doing away with special “tax increment financing” districts which cities and counties have used to pay for infrastructure, like roads and sewers, because some cities have used it to finance things like strip malls. Bredeweg says cities and counties need to retain the ability to finance infrastructure projects. He says there’s hardly and project where you don’t need some of those type of investments, and this is the best way to get it done.You can find the details of the League of Cities’ plan on the Internet, as www.iowaleague.org/rev/.
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