Iowa’s Department of Economic Development has released a report touting the business grant program devised, in part, by the out-going governor. Iowa Department of Economic Development director Michael Blouin says Iowa Values Fund grants to businesses have helped create or retain nearly 31-thousand jobs.
“We are helping companies create some awfully good jobs with long-term staying power for the state,” Blouin says. Blouin, who ran for governor and lost this past June in the Democratic primary, says the companies which have received high-dollar “Values Fund” grants from the state have hired 72 percent of the employees they’d promised and — in addition — have made 96 percent of the capital investment in buildings or equipment that had been promised in order to get the state backing.
“That there’s a much higher percentage of capital investment in place is exactly what has to happen. You can’t hire somebody and put them into a job until the company builds the facility that he or she is supposed to go to work for,” Blouin says. “…Tracking it from that perspective, it looks to us like we’re right on target.”
Eleven percent of the businesses which have received grants though the Vision Iowa program are behind schedule in meeting their job creation and capital investment promises. “That’s not something I’m real worried about. Different things are causing them to be behind schedule,” Blouin says. “In some cases, we find that a company ultimately might not make their goals in which case they have to pay it back, proportionally, to their failure.”
Out-going Governor Tom Vilsack, a Democrat who’s now running for president, issued a prepared statement boasting that the Iowa Values Fund and other development efforts have changed the landscape of Iowa. According to Vilsack, the programs helped lead to having more employed Iowans than at any time in the state?s history and family incomes in Iowa are rising.