Leaders of the now-defunct Iowa Values Fund are bashing a compromise shaping up for next week’s special session, saying it’ll half economic development in Iowa. Lawmakers return to Des Moines Tuesday to set aside 100-Million dollars for projects promised Iowa Valued funding and a bit more for those in the pipeline. The compromise does not reinstate the board created to administer the fund, and that doesn’t sit well with the board’s former chairman, Farm Bureau president Craig Lang. Lang says they put time and effort into it and that work will “be bartered away” with the promise only to wait for the regular session to find funding for the program on a permanent basis. Initially when the values fund was approved, it was designed as a seven year, 503-million-dollar grant and loan program to attract new industries to Iowa. But the entire package was struck down by the court that ruled the governor’s veto of one part of that bill was illegal. That’s why lawmakers will come back for the special session to restore money already promised to businesses through the program. Lang says the momentum stops and outside businesses stop considering Iowa and go somewhere else. He says nobody likes having to “give away money” to encourage economic-development but everyone does it so we have to continue at the level we’ve been doing it. Lang says he’s happy the legislature is returning for a special session to cover the grants and loans already awarded by the Values Fund, but he says it’s a mistake to postpone action on restoring the whole program. Lang says “Iowans live up to their commitment” and says it’s important to stand behind the 56-million dollars promised to 36 companies in a couple dozen counties, some of them for as long as five years. Lang says he and other members of the now-defunct Values Fund board will try to meet with legislative leaders before Tuesday’s special session to make their case.
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