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 State, Provincial and International Reviews 
Wednesday, September 14 2016
Certified Sites, Incentives Make Iowa Built for Business

Finding a suitable piece of land for business relocation can be a fast, painless undertaking in Iowa where a unique program has certified sites in 12 communities ready for development. 

Each of the certified sites, which range from 150 to almost 600 acres, were inspected by an independent site selection consultant to assure it meets national site selection standards, and has ready access to major transportation infrastructure, energy, water and zoning that meets the industry needs of advanced manufacturing, financial services, information technology and biosciences companies. Certified site locations include Cedar Rapids, Davenport, Dexter, Forest City, Fort Dodge, Iowa Falls, Marion, Mason City, Middletown, Norwalk, Perry, and Van Meter. As many as 12 additional sites are undergoing inspection this year.

With access to rail, interstate and connection highways, several sites are ideally situated for large-scale industrial biorenewable processing, advanced manufacturing or high-tech data centers.

“By introducing certified sites to the market, Iowa is better able to compete for large-scale projects,” said Debi Durham, director of the Iowa Economic Development Authority. "We offer shovel ready locations and we have the shovels to get you started." 

New Development-Ready Location Offers Security, Fire Rescue On-Site
Iowa’s newest certified site, just west of the city of Burlington, is on the grounds of a military installation – the Iowa Army Ammunition Plant. The site therefore has no zoning restrictions and an ambulance, EMT, fire rescue and security on site. 

Named the Commerce Center of Southeast Iowa, the site is a 152.9 acre plot of land that is five miles from two U.S. highways and is served by rail. It’s also near a barge terminal on the Mississippi River. It’s an ideal location for manufacturers with unique security needs.

Iowa Incentives Plus Resources Can Transform Chemistry
Iowa ranks second nationally in the availability of biomass, which brings the potential to transform the chemical business, from one based on oil to one based upon renewables. For companies seeking to develop chemicals and compounds from biorenewable sources, Iowa offers a first-of-its kind Renewable Chemical Production Tax Credit. Enacted in 2016, this refundable tax credit offers up to $500,000 for established companies and $1 million for startups to incentivize production of high-value building block chemicals from agricultural co-products and biomass.

“The competition to attract job-creating projects is steep, so looking for every possible advantage is critical," said Governor Terry Branstad. "We are moving Iowa to the top of the list for projects that are looking for a home.”

Infrastructure and Tax Structure Empowers Exporters
Iowa’s production incentives are just the beginning. Iowa also excels in providing businesses with access to markets in the U.S. and around the world and a tax climate that appeals to global businesses. The state has earned a national reputation as the fourth, best-managed state in the U.S. It makes smart investments of taxpayer money, recently launching an ambitious program to invest more than $3 billion in highway, rail and air transportation infrastructure within five  years.

The state also exempts income earned outside Iowa from the state's corporate income tax. It's no wonder Iowa has attracted $11 billion of private capital investment over the last four years. It also is a leading exporter, shipping more than $15.1 billion in manufactured and value-added goods to markets around the world in 2014 – an increase of 39 percent since 2011.

Wind Energy Leadership Attracts Sustainable Businesses
Today, Iowa generates more of its electricity from wind than any other state – more than 31 percent. This leadership in sustainable energy will continue, as Iowa utilities have pledged to spend billions to add more wind capacity in the coming years. At the same time, industrial electricity rates in Iowa are more than 20 percent below the national average. 

The widespread availability of affordable, renewable electricity has attracted companies who have made commitments to sustainable energy usage like Google, Facebook and Microsoft to Iowa. With ever increasing wind energy capacity, Iowa will continue to be an affordable and sustainable location for companies with energy-intensive operations.

Focused Education System Produces Skilled, Stem Workers at Good Value
Iowans are educated people. Last year Iowa ranked fifth in the nation in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) degrees conferred per 1,000 residents. In addition, Iowa is fourth in the nation in the percentage of residents with an associate’s degree. The state also has the highest high school graduation rate and the second highest average ACT score in the country (among states where a majority of students take the ACT).

This high achievement level is one reason a 2016 Chief Executive magazine survey of CEOs placed Iowa in the top six in worker quality. Due to the state’s relatively low cost of living, those high quality workers are also available at a good value. The average salary for a manufacturing employee in Iowa is more than 21 percent below the national average.

Focused Strategy Demonstrates Iowa Wants Your Business
Today, as the nation deals with critical infrastructure issues, Iowa has a leg up. Iowa also boasts one of the nation's most productive workforces, another leg up. It offers a cost of doing business that is among the lowest in the U.S. And, a unique site-selection certification program that assures companies of perfect locations to expand.

In short, Iowa offers the closest thing to a "risk free investment."

To learn more about Iowa’s Certified Sites, or the state's Renewable Chemical Production Tax Credit, visit  

Visit for local economic development office directory listings.

Posted by: AT 11:46 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
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