2016 Clinton County Legislative Day Review

by CRDC Staff | Feb 19, 2016
CRDC Staff spoke with Iowa Legislators about key Economic Development bills.

On February 11th, 2016, the Clinton Regional Development Corporation (CRDC) attended Clinton County Legislative Day in Des Moines, Iowa. Jenelle Kreiling (Business Development Manager), and Andy Sokolovich (Existing Industry Manager) had the opportunity to speak with legislative leaders on issues that impact our region’s continued development and success.

The following points were discussed:

Renewable Chemical Production Tax Credits (SSB3001) - With our state’s ability to harvest over 14 million tons of biomass each year, Clinton County is well-positioned to leverage the Renewable Chemical Production Tax Credit to attract new business, expand existing industry, and create high quality jobs. As stated in the Iowa Economic Development Authority white paper on renewable chemical production, “The production of biochemicals is perhaps the fastest growing segment of the bioscience industry and represents one of Iowa’s best opportunities for development of a high-density industry cluster such as Silicon Valley.”

The following bullet points were listed as part of the Professional Developers of Iowa (PDI) 2016 Legislative Agenda Talking Points.

  • Iowa boasts 43 ethanol plants and 12 biodiesel plants,which makes our state a net exporter of bio-renewable fuel
  • Next generation high-value biochemical production in Iowa will, in turn, engender a new industry in the state creating products based on these chemicals
  • The proposed tax credit will provide value-add for farmers, ag processors, chemical companies, and research and development in the state

 

Clinton County is partnering with PDI on this legislative initiative, and supports its efforts to ensure the passage of the Renewable Chemical Production Tax Credit.

 

Tax Increment Financing - TIF is one of Clinton County’s most significant and flexible economic development tools. We encourage the Legislature and the Governor to continue their support for the appropriate use of TIF to address development and community improvement needs throughout Clinton County. Because it is essential to our efforts to compete for new tax-generating businesses, we ask that this critical tool for local economic development not be diluted and remain in place.

Historical Tax Credits – A number of the 27 Clinton County properties listed on the National Register of Historic Places have been redeveloped with incentives assistance through the State Historic Preservation Tax Incentive Program. Currently, the Wilson Building – built in Clinton, Iowa between 1912 and 1914 – is on schedule to be redeveloped into over 30 market rate apartments located in the middle of the historic downtown shopping district.  This catalytic project would not be possible without assistance through the Historic Preservation Tax Incentive Program.  We ask that this program remain in place to encourage the productive reuse and rehabilitation of more historic buildings in Clinton County.

We closed our conversation by issuing this final statement:

Attracting financial investment in an increasingly competitive global economy has intensified the challenge of economic development in small and midsize communities. When managed correctly and evaluated often, tax incentives and TIF continue to be vital economic development tools in areas like Clinton County. Maintaining their existence and effectiveness requires financial stewardship at both the state and local levels. Working with our partner agencies at the State of Iowa, Clinton County and its communities are committed to safeguarding the credibility and effectiveness of these programs.

Based on the responses we received from each legislator, it appears that the Renewable Chemical Production Tax Credit is in good health and moving forward. Senate Majority Leader, Michael Gronstal (D), stated that he approves of the amendments made following last year’s failed attempt to make it through the Senate, and is confident that there will be no road blocks along the way this session. The Bill should be presented to the Governor’s office for signature within the next few weeks.

Leaders from both parties acknowledged the importance of both Tax Increment Financing and the availability of Historical Tax Credits. Both programs will continue to receive full support from both the House and the Senate. It was mentioned that the key to long term availability rests in our discipline, as a County, to use each incentive in the purpose for which it was intended. We must be good stewards of our local dollars, as well as those made available through the State. 

If you have any questions regarding the CRDC’s talking points, or would like to learn more about our trip to the Capitol, feel free to reach out and we’ll schedule a time to meet.

This experience proves just how important it is to share our voice, and express what we need, as a region, in an effort to support our growth, development, and overall economic health.