I-JOBS board agrees on draft rules and timeline

The I-JOBS board met for the first time on June 3. According to this news release,

The I-Jobs Board is specifically tasked with awarding approximately $165 million of funds from the I-Jobs program. Of  that amount, $46.5 million is earmarked for projects in Linn County, Cedar Rapids, Palo, Elkader and Charles City. The  remaining $118.5 million will be available on a competitive basis to support the construction of projects relating to  disaster relief, mitigation and local infrastructure.

The board approved this tentative timetable for allocating the money. The key date is August 3, when applications are due. As Governor Chet Culver’s deputy chief of staff Phil Roeder told Iowa Independent,

“Everyone in the administration understands that with I-JOBS, time is of the essence,” Roeder said. “In order to have impact on the economy, we have to move quickly.”

I was pleased to see Roeder highlight the importance of transparency for the I-JOBS program. The administration is creating a website that supposedly will allow the public to track how money is being spent. I strongly agree with Kathleen Richardson, director of Iowa Freedom of Information Council, who emphasized the need for the I-JOBS board to follow open meetings rules as well.

Citizens can find draft rules for the I-JOBS program here. You can send comments about these rules to ijobs@iowa.gov.

Meanwhile, Iowa Republicans continue to bring out their misleading talking points, such as this Twitter comment from IowaGOP,

Culver keeps pumping I-JOBS (1st mtg. today.) But how will it help create and keep long-term jobs in IA? Still haven’t heard.

How the program will create jobs should be obvious when you read which kinds of construction projects are eligible for the money (such as roads, bridges, sewers, repairing flood-damaged structures). As for how these public works will keep jobs in Iowa, what part of “quality of life” do Republicans not understand? Also, expanding broadband access in rural areas will allow more Iowans to operate internet-based businesses.

Even Iowa State Economics Professor David Swenson, whom Republicans like to quote on this subject, estimates that the I-JOBS program will create around 4,050 jobs.

Funny, Iowa Republicans don’t acknowledge Swenson’s insight when it comes to ending federal deductibility, which he considers an “archaic holdover” in our state’s tax system. But that’s a point for another post.

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