The Iowa House has approved a bill that’d provide 33-million state tax dollars to help build a “purification” lab and other facilities for biotech firms, especially a northwest Iowa company. TransOva Genetics in Sioux City is raising cloned cattle for their blood and milk which yield proteins, dietary supplements and human blood substitutes. Representative Clarence Hoffman, a republican from Charter Oak, says TransOva deserves the state assistance. Hoffman says TransOva has been loyal to Iowa, has a successful track record and is a growing concern. While 83 members of the House approved the deal, 14 voted against it. Representative Robert Hogg , a democrat from Cedar Rapids, wants TransOva to promise to stay in Iowa for at least a decade and create at least 200 new jobs. Hogg says the bill sets a precedent for companies that tells ’em to hire lobbyists if they want money from the state. Representative Ed Fallon, a democrat from Des Moines, says it’s wrong to spend so much state money on one company while Iowa schools can’t pay for building repairs. Fallon says to “sink all of our ova in one basket” seems a “colossal mistake.” But Representative Phil Wise, a democrat from Keokuk, says “life science” companies are watching Iowa to see if the state’s willing to become a leader in the industry.Wise says if Iowa can’t be a national leader on biotechnology commercialization, then “we have no future as a state.” The 33-million dollar package must win the approval of the Iowa Senate and the Governor, too.
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