The Iowa Senate has given final legislative approve to a plan that would give the Knoxville Raceway a tax break to help finance an upgrade of the facility. Senator Bill Dotzler, a Democrat from Waterloo, says the track already has a $50 million annual economic impact on the state.
“They’re marketing it as a ‘dirt track heaven’ and it really is in Iowa,” Dotzler says. “It’s a special, special place.”
Over 200,000 people visit the track in Knoxville each year, but Dotzler says with NASCAR driver Tony Stewart’s recent investment in a dirt track in Ohio, Knoxville needs to keep up with the competition.
“This bill would allow them to move forward with a planned project,” Dotzler says. “They plan to add new suites, a main entranceway to the facility and additional seats that would modernize the facility and really keep Knoxville as the premiere place in America to race sprint cars.”
If Governor Branstad signs the bill into law, the Knoxville track would get a rebate of sales taxes charges on goods and services sold at the track from 2015 ’til 2025. However, the total rebate could not exceed $2 million and it is also limited to 25 percent of the total cost of the facility upgrade project. Senator Randy Feenstra, a Republican from Hull, is a racing fan who supports the bill.
“If you ever get to the Knoxville Nationals or the Knoxville Speedway, it’s one of the funnest things you’ll ever do and we get to do it in Iowa,” Feenstra says. “It’s one of our own precious jewels that we have here.”
The bill passed the Senate on a 39-10 vote. A few weeks ago Governor Branstad went to Newton to sign a bill that provided a similar tax rebate to NASCAR, the new owners of the Iowa Speedway.