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Money and Jobs in Time for Mars Colony?

Ira Lacher

Des Moines Register

July 4, 2006

[Note: This material is copyright by the Des Moines Register, and is reproduced here as a matter of "fair use" for non-commercial, educational purposes only. Any other use may require the prior approval of the Des Moines Register.]

The page 1 article concerning the Iowa Values Fund contains a yawning disconnect between the projects the Iowa Department of Economic Development designates as “on track” and the numbers it reports (“Iowa Values Fund Report,” June 20).

Simply examining those numbers would reveal that if a passenger train were as “on track” as some of these businesses, the occupants would be dead and buried long before reaching the station.

In two and a half years, Wells Dairy has come across with 50 percent of its pledged jobs, but only 4 percent of its pledged investment. Given that rate, Wells would not fulfill its investment pledge until 2088.

But Wells Dairy seems the success story compared with some of the article’s other examples. TransOva Genetics has come across with 7 percent of its pledged jobs and 9 percent of its pledged investment. At that rate, it would be 2042 before we see all the 235 pledged jobs, and 2031 before TransOva fulfills its investment pledge goals.

And what about Progress Casting, the article’s poster child? In two-and-one-half years the company has delivered on 3 percent of its pledged jobs and barely 1 percent of its pledged investment, making it 2089 before we’d see all the pledged jobs, and we wouldn’t see all the pledged investment until the Starship Enterprise takes off in the 23rd century.

The IDED can spin the results all it wants, but its own figures only bear out what critics such as state Rep. Ed Fallon have been saying all along: The Iowa Values Fund is a catastrophic waste of money that does little to enable communities to prosper in a wildly changing economic environment.

Ira Lacher
Des Moines