Members of the Iowa House are considering extending a tax break for the Knoxville Raceway.

In 2018, the Iowa legislature approved a $1.8 million sales tax rebate for the track. Jason Reed, general manager for the Knoxville Raceway, says state government red tape has kept the track from claiming the money.

“We got the bill passed and then there was some confusion on the rules on how it was going to be paid. We thought we were on the right road several different times where they told us, ‘Fill out these papers, send them in and you’ll get your money,’ but we ended up just getting denied in those two or three years in there and then COVID right after that,” Reed says. “We kept mproving stuff. We thought we were going to be getting money back, but we weren’t getting it.”

Reed says it took three years for the Department of Revenue’s rules for the rebate to be functional. “A little over $700,000 that we’d done improvements to turn in, and then we were denied on,” Reed says.

The projects ranged from new restrooms to making the facility more handicapped accessible. Republican Representative Brook Boden of Indianola and two other members of a House subcommittee have advanced a bill that would extend the tax break until 2030. “When we wrote this and we decided to help Knoxville, we had great intent and I think it still has great intent,” Boden says. “We want to do what’s right and make that right with Knoxville and their community.”

Boden says the tax break supports a small community that hosts a big event. There are about 30,000 fans in the stands for four straight days of the Knoxville Nationals in August, plus there are big crowds in the 10 days of qualifying races leading up to the nationals.

“The Knoxville community grows by four or five times during that time frame,” Reed says.

The Knoxville Raceway is on the Marion County Fairgrounds. Weekly stock car racing began in 1954, but a few years later lighter weight sprint cars began racing on the track. The first Knoxville Nationals were held in 1961.

Radio Iowa