A bill state officials believe will help sweeten the pot of incentives to keep the Wells Dairy headquarters in LeMars has cleared the Senate. Governor Tom Vilsack says he’s prepared to sign the measure, which ensures the dairy that makes Blue Bunny ice cream would get significant sales tax breaks even if it leases a new building. Vilsack says it’s an important move to make Iowa as competitive as possible because in the new business environment, companies don’t necessarily own the buildings in which they operate. Vilsack says the quick-moving deal gives Iowa a chance to “put a good foot forward.”Vilsack says “innovative mechanisms” are being used by businesses across the country to finance construction, and he says the state of Iowa should restructure its tax incentive program to reflect that new reality. Vilsack says it’s important for state officials to respond to the concerns of existing Iowa businesses. Vilsack says all too often “a lot of folks sometimes see economic development as focused only on the new guy coming in to town.” Vilsack says Wells Dairy is “an important corporate citizen in northwest Iowa” that deserves the kind of attention it’s getting from state officials.Later today, the Iowa House is expected to take up the legislation aimed at Wells, and Vilsack says he’ll sign it into law..
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