The close of the 2014 session of the Iowa Legislature brought new policy that will help grow the state’s biotech industry, one of the nation’s fastest growing industries.
Because of Iowa’s rich agricultural resources, biosciences has grown at an exponential rate. A recent Battelle Institute study shows the bioscience industry in Iowa employs over 15,000 people. These are jobs that average over $60,000 a year. The study also shows that even during the recent recession that started in 2008, Iowa was adding biotech positions at 4.5 percent a year.
With the passage of SF 2344, tax credits on renewable fuels in Iowa will be extended through 2018. The fuel biobutanol was also added to renewable fuels eligible for the tax credit.
In SF 2363, an appropriation was made for a $4 million strategic infrastructure program. These funds will be made available to commercial enterprises that have already made significant investments in their facilities, but are in need of additional infrastructure to support enhancement and development of their operations. This legislation represents a significant boost to existing biotech companies in Iowa through public-private partnerships that will be established as a result of this funding. It also provided for funding at Iowa State University to complete phase II of the agricultural and biosystems engineering complex.
The Iowa Legislature’s work this year to support the continued growth of biosciences will certainly help increase the number of high-paying jobs. In a state where we place much emphasis on agriculture and STEM education, this represents a winning economic development scenario for Iowa. Perhaps more important, it contributes to improving our position on the 2013 Forbes list as the 12th-best state to do business.
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