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MEGA proposal offers potential benefits for FD area

Bill providing incentives should be approved

In the effort to get new jobs and growth in a community the reality is that some kind of incentives must be offered. Not offering incentives would be the equivalent of disarming yourself in a battle.

With that in mind, Iowa’s lawmakers are working on a new package of incentives designed to attract very large investments to the state. And by very large we mean projects worth $1 billion or more.

This proposed incentive package may seem like just another of the hundreds of bills that pass through the state Capitol every year without apparently having any impact on most local folks. It is actually not one of those bills. It is a measure that could have a great positive impact on the Fort Dodge region because Iowa’s Crossroads of Global Innovation, the ag industrial park in Webster County, is ideally suited for such a big project.

The proposal is called the Major Economic Growth Attraction Program, and is often called MEGA for short.

It would offer developers a refund of sales, service and use taxes paid during construction. It would also offer a refundable investment tax credit of up to 5 percent of the capital investment, which would be a hefty sum for a $1 billion project. Lastly, it would provide a withholding tax credit.

To be eligible for all that, the project would have to meet or exceed the $1 billion mark. It would also have to be related to advanced manufacturing, biosciences or research. The project would have to create jobs that pay at least 140 percent of the area’s wage as defined by state law and offer a qualified benefits plan.

Companies that are owned by countries adversarial to the United States need not apply, because the proposal specifically prohibits them from getting incentives.

The proposal was approved by the state Senate last year and is now being considered by the House of Representatives.

It offers a lot in an effort to get a lot. Critics might even call it corporate welfare. But the alternative – doing nothing – might send these big investments elsewhere.

Because of the good paying jobs and huge economic ripple effect such a project could have on the Fort Dodge area, we ask the House to pass the bill and send it to Gov. Kim Reynolds for her signature.

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