More action at the statehouse today on a plan to spend lots of state money to boost the Iowa economy. The Iowa Chamber Alliance — a group that represents Iowa’s 17 largest metro areas — will unveil details of its “big idea” today. And a small group of legislators will meet in private to decide exactly how to raise the money. There are a number of proposals, including the Farm Bureau’s idea of levying a statewide property tax to get the collateral to sell bonds. In January, Governor tom Vilsack proposed a half a billion dollar “Iowa Values” fund to provide incentives that’s lure and keep biotech and life science firms here. Legislators are eyeing a much larger pie — two billion dollars. Senate Republican Leader Stewart Iverson of Dows says it doesn’t have to be exactly two billion, though. He says it is only one piece of the puzzle, and an economic growth fund is not the top priority if the other pieces don’t fall together. House Speaker Christopher Rants, a republican from Sioux City, says the goal is for that private “working group” of legislators to have the deal done by the end of the month.Rants says it’s time for the group to “roll up their sleeves and get to work.” He says a funding mechanism must be in place, first, but lawmakers can “get serious” about the rest of the economic development plan. This is so-called “funnel week” in the Legislature. It me4ans bills that don’t spend money or deal with tax policy must clear a committee in either the House or the Senate, or they’re dead for the year. House Republican Leader Chuck Gipp of Decorah says a bill many Iowans favor will clear that hurdle this week.Gipp says the bill that’d raise the speed limit on Iowa’s interstates will make it out of committee, but he’s not sure whether it can pass the full, 100-member House.
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