Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Economic Development in Newton

Newton stops track spending for now

NEWTON, Iowa Newton has put the brakes on 16 (m) million dollars in new roads and financing for the Iowa Speedway for now.

That's until the group building the 70 (m) million dollar track proves it has the money to complete the project. link

This whole thing is a big durst. This government financed money pit is just that, and nothing more.

The slicksters promising delivery on this project are known in racing circles to be selling a load of bullshit to the good citizens of Newton and Jasper County. The guys in Knoxville, who have the best sprint car track in the entire world and know the racing business, are just rolling their eyes at this crap and taking bets on how long till the Newton track boosters figure out they have been @#$% over.

And the Knoxville guys know about racing. They pull in MILLIONS in tourism dollars every year (economic development in Mike Blouin's world) and the state has never shelled out a dime for the Knoxville track. And even without big dollars from the state the Knoxville track is the sprint care racing center of the universe. How did that happen?

Okay, Newton and Jasper County are tossing money at this slickster track, but the real kicker is the 12 million dollar tax give-a-way that the state approved on this one.

You can thank Chaz Allen (the guy in the middle of the pic). He's the Mayor of Newton and a lobbyist with the telecom industry. He's not a bad guy, just worked the system and is buddy buddy enough with Clarence Hoffman – the Iowa Democrats’ Zell on economic development issues. So in that good old boy back slapping fashion, Clarence went to bat for him to pull down this deal. Sweet.

My hope for the future: every town with some two bit slicksters selling some ridiculous tourist trap hires some over priced lobby type and comes crawling to the trough next legislative session.

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