News from the State Capitol
At approximately 7:30 a.m., on Jan. 24, I slipped and fell on the ice at my apartment complex in Des Moines, while I was on my way to the Capitol. After pulling myself up off the ground, I decided that I was most likely only bruised, and continued on. I limped into the Capitol and spent the better part of the day with my leg propped up with ice on my ankle, occasionally limping to committee meetings or out to visit with constituents who were at the Capitol.
Rather than attend the social events that evening, I went back to the apartment, hobbled up the steps to my second floor living quarters, and continued the propping and icing routine. I had no trouble sleeping that night, and felt great when I woke up the next morning, UNTIL I set my feet on the floor. Later in the day I had the ankle X-rayed, and it was determined that the right ankle was broken. I spent the better part of a week, learning to navigate and meet my own needs before I returned to the Capitol.
Learning to get around with only one good leg was a bit of a problem. Using crutches simply wasn’t going to work. I eventually settled on using a scooter or a wheel chair, depending on the situation. Iowa’s beautiful Capitol building has many steps, which makes it difficult to get where you need to go, but with persistence, it can generally be done.
This experience has given me a new-found respect for those who are permanently disabled. The energy an individual consumes simply getting in and out of car is really amazing. In theory, someone in my situation should end up losing weight, because of all the calories burned just getting from point A to point B. Unfortunately, I have discovered that Peanut M&M’s help to take my mind off a throbbing ankle so do not plan on seeing a slimmer senator anytime soon.
One of the bills of interest we will be considering soon in the Economic Growth Committee is Senate File 2110, or the “Field of Dreams” Bill. The proposal would provide a Sales Tax Rebate to the owner(s) of the planned Youth Baseball Complex at the Field of Dreams location.
The proposal is to construct 24 ball diamonds and support facilities for Youth (8-14) Baseball Tournament Teams on farm ground surrounding the existing Field of Dreams near Dyersville in Dubuque County. The farm ground is currently not generating any state sales tax, so we are collecting personal income tax from the site.
The proposal also includes several upgrades to the existing Field of Dreams site, including an events center suitable for weddings, banquets and corporate events, but the real ‘draw’ will be the baseball tournaments which are expected to generate slightly less than $50 million annually in hotel, restaurant and other retail spending.
SF 2110 specifies that the rebate ceases if control of the facility changes hands and the rebate provision be enforced from Jan. 1, 2014 through Jan. 1, 2024 OR 30 days after of total of $16.5 million has been rebated, whichever comes first. This is an arrangement similar to the agreement struck with the primary investors at the Newton Raceway prior to them making a final decision to build in Iowa. I find the sales tax rebate on property that is currently not generating any sales tax to be a far better way to approach large economic development projects than for the investors coming to the state asking for outright financial assistance.