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Values Fund seeks input on proposed rules


Should the Grow Iowa Values Fund establish threshold wage levels businesses must meet in order to obtain state funding? It’s the type of issue Values Fund board members would like to hear about from Iowa business people.

The board is now seeking public input on the proposed rules that will govern how it will handle funding requests.

Created by the 2003 Legislature with the broad goals of growing the state’s economy, create jobs and generate more wealth for Iowa residents, the $503 million fund includes $220.5 million for business development and assistance.

Iowa Department of Economic Development officials are now planning a series of public hearings throughout the state this month, with a final hearing scheduled in Des Moines on Oct. 8.

The board adopted emergency rules at its first meeting on July 30 so it could immediately begin considering funding requests. Those rules are effective for 90 days while the permanent rules are considered.

Since then, the board has approved $20 million in funding to three businesses: $10 million to Wells Fargo & Co. to bring 2,000 new financial-services jobs to Greater Des Moines, $9 million to Trans Ova Genetics to bring 315 high-tech jobs to Northwest Iowa, and $1 million to GCommerce to bring 57 software development jobs to Des Moines.

The wage-level issue recently surfaced as the board was considering the Trans Ova commitment, which some board members said was “a stretch,” given the expectation of just over 300 jobs.

Though the wage issue is of particular interest, the board is seeking feedback on all aspects of its procedures, IDED spokeswoman Kay Snyder said.

A copy of the proposed rules and the schedule of hearings are posted on the IDED Web site, www.iowasmartidea.com.   

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