The city of Newton isn’t just on tenderhooks about the future of their local appliance maker, Maytag. The future of a proposed race track on the outskirts of Newton is uncertain, too. Investors this week missed a deadline to confirm that they had 57-million dollars for the project. City officials then put local spending on the track on hold. State officials granted the track a 12-and-a-half million dollar tax break, but Representative Danny Carroll says the tax break will only kick in when, or if, the track opens.”It’s a sales tax rebate and we at the legislature enjoy the comfort of knowing that those dollars will not be (paid out) unless they are first collected,” Carroll says. The legislature and the governor agreed to give the track a rebate of the first 12-and-a-half million dollars worth of state sales taxes collected on race tickets and track concessions. Carroll was one of the architects of the tax break, which was approved by the House, Senate and Governor Vilsack this spring.”We are interested in the integrity of the people involved and the project, and I did some research and satisfied myself that the investors, for many good reasons, wanted to remain private,” Carroll says. Carroll, who lives in nearby Grinnell, knows some of the firms involved in the construction work.”I’m still encouraged. I can’t believe McAnich and his outfit would be moving all that dirt over there if they didn’t have a high level of confidence that they were going to get paid,” Carroll. “But I certainly won’t second-guess the city council and the City of Newton. They’ve got to the keep the taxpayers’ interest in mind, and I think that’s probably what they’re doing.” Last weekend, Governor Tom Vilsack expressed confidence that the project was still a go.
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