Heavyweight leaders in Iowa business and agriculture joined current Governor Tom Vilsack and former Governor Robert Ray today to show support for the so-called “Iowa Values Fund.” That fund of up to 810-million dollars would be used to lure businesses to Iowa or encourage those already here to expand. Former Governor Ray, a republican, is spokesman for the Iowa Economic Growth Coalition, which is made up of 30 groups including the Farm Bureau, the state’s two largest utility companies, and the Iowa Business Council. Ray says he’s not a status quo person, and neither are the others who’re backing the economic growth fund. Rays says you do not stand still and continue to be the best. Ray says Vilsack, who’s a democrat, has an essentially Republican base of business leaders backing the idea. He says they’re talking about Iowa investing so it can grow.Iowa’s current governor praised Ray for his leadership. He says it means a great deal to the state that Ray continues to be a staunch supporter of improving the quality of life and opportunity in the state and says it continues Ray’s legacy in the state.Hy-Vee C-E-O Ron Pearson, another leader in the coalition, says his own company became successful by borrowing at the right time, and expanding into the Midwest’s leading supermarket chain. Pearson says the coalition of 30 groups “strongly urges” the legislature to endorse the Iowa Values Fund. In a modification of the Hy-Vee ad motto, Vilsack said the effort was about having a “friendly smile in every community in the state.” Vilsack says the coalition reaches into every part of the state. Vilsack says the groups are joined in one common goal: to improve hope and opportunity in our state. Republican Senators who have been reluctant to endorse the Iowa Values Fund met privately today in Des Moines to discuss the project as well as tax reform and regulatory changes they say would make Iowa a more attractive state in which to do business.
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