Former governor Robert Ray will be back on your radio and TV, touting the Iowa Values Fund. Farm and business leaders hired him as spokesperson for the republican-backed economic-development program conceived by democrat governor Tom Vilsack. Craig Schoenfeld is coordinator of the “Iowa Economic Growth Coalition.” When you walk into the local coffeeshop, he says the Iowa Values Fund is a part of people’s conversation, and chambers of commerce, schools, farmers and ranchers alike are talking about how important it is for the future of Iowa. Jim Aipperspach is president of the Iowa Association of Business and Industry. He says there’s significant risk in failing because we’ve raised the bar, he says, and if all this hard work doesn’t accomplish the goals, we’ll lose ground after having raised expectations and not fulfilled them. Other members of the Iowa Economic Growth Coalition include the Farm Bureau, MidAmerican Energy, and John Deere. The coalition will have to move fast, as the governor’s expected to call lawmakers back into special session before the end of the month. House Speaker Christopher Rants says he’s glad to see pressure coming from the business community. Rants says it’s a good idea for business to support it publicly since there’s a lot at stake for business, and for republicans who’ve said for years they favor a better business and regulatory climate. Speaker Rants says if G-O-P lawmakers wait till next year to pass an economic development fund, there’s far less chance the governor will sign the tax-cut and regulatory-reform changes they want.
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