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Wednesday, March 24, 2010


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As a lifelong Iowan, I understand completely your point about the football conference rivalries that stick with us, and our communities, throughout our lives. I agree that it contributes to the reluctance to cooperate regionally. However, there are other reasons, some of which aren't so irrational. Another big reason is that most of local economic development activity is carried out and funded by local government officials. In Iowa and much of the Midwest property taxes fund the vast majority of our local governments and K-12 schools. For local govrnment officials new development is an All-or- Nothing proposition based on siting of industrial/commer assets. In other words if added property valuation is brough t into their jurisdiction, it helps local officials meet their goals. If it is sited just across the road in another county, or city or school district, they get no gain. Regardless of the number of jobs created. or the amount of sales the local government gets nothing directly. To further regional cooperationin economic development we need tax base sharing in property taxes and we need to shift some of the burden of financing local governments and schools to revenue streams like income or sales instead of purely property.

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