Three companies have now received a total of 2-million dollars from the state’s huge new economic development fund, but some developers are already talking about the prospect of plugging more money into the fund. The Legislature voted to create an eight-year, 500 million dollar fund, but only outlined where the money will come from for the next three years. The commitment beyond that is murky. House Speaker Christopher Rants, a Republican from Sioux City, says it’s premature to talk about what may happen four years down the road.Rants says legislators want to take a step back after the initial wave of investments are made to see what the return on investment is. Rants says it’s premature to talk about a phase two when the state’s still working through phase one of the state’s new economic development push which includes not only the direct cash assistance to companies, but increased job training and research at the University of Iowa and Iowa State University that could spark business clusters to form around the universities. Rants says Republican lawmakers will insist changes in tax law and business regulations be part of any phase two plan. Rants is suing Democrat Governor Tom Vilsack for signing the Iowa Values Fund into law this summer but using his item veto authority to nix regulatory reforms and tax cuts from the bill.
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