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Gov. Reynolds signs mega site tax incentives bill



Des Moines, Iowa – A new law in Iowa aims to entice large-scale commercial ventures. It must now locate businesses eager to establish one in the state.

Wednesday, Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds signed a bill offering $93 million in tax incentives for two businesses that create a “mega Site”. “This legislation presents a tremendous opportunity for Iowa,” Reynolds said.

Farmland can be utilized by businesses to construct the sites, but agricultural incentives cannot be applied to them.

“This bill establishes meaningful tax incentives that’s designed to attract investments of at least $1 billion in capital if it’s tied to advanced manufacturing, biosciences, or research and development,” Reynolds said.

Lawmakers, according to JD Davis of the Iowa Association of Business and Industry, want to ensure that they bring well-paying jobs to the state in particular industries.

“They’ve taken some efforts to make sure that these are not just warehousing jobs, you know. Specifically within the legislation it says that some of the data centers that we have in Iowa, these are not the type of projects that would qualify,” Davis said.

This measure restricts the incentives to the largest sites, larger than 250 acres, even though the state has dozens of places certified for mega projects. Oskaloosa, Princeton, Clinton, Ames, Glenwood, and two locations in Cedar Rapids are home to seven of those.

“They really did kind of work to make this look like an all across Iowa project,” Davis said. According to Davis, there is fierce competition among states to secure these projects, and the incentive package is the deciding factor for these corporations when they are searching for a place.

“They’re critical. These deals do not close without them,” Davis said. According to Davis, he believes the scheme will succeed.

“If the right projects are out there, that we have now the incentives in place and we have the team in place that can land them,” Davis said.

Just four people opposed the bill, including state representative JD Scholten, a Democrat from Sioux City. He claims that he voted against it because he finds it unsettling that foreign businesses are constructing farm sites in Iowa.