The Iowa Speedway in Newton will receive a state tax rebate under legislation Gov. Terry Branstad signed into law Wednesday morning.
“I can tell you it’s an experience that you need to experience for yourself,” Branstad said of visiting the racetrack. “And we’re really proud to have this really high-quality professional racing right here in Iowa.”
The Legislature agreed to waive a previous measure requiring the track be an Iowa-owned entity following NASCAR’s purchase of the 7/8-mile track 30 miles east of Des Moines last November.
Lawmakers originally agreed to rebate the 5 percent state sales tax through 2016 with an expected $12.5 million benefit when the track first opened in 2006. The racetrack has recouped $3.5 million so far and the new law effective upon enactment ensures the remaining $9 million tax benefit through 2026. Senate File 2341, won bipartisan support in the House, 82-14, and the Senate, 36-9.
Jimmy Small, Iowa Speedway president, said the speedway is an “iconic feature and venue” in the state and looks forward to further developing the racetrack.
“NASCAR and Iowa Speedway have a vision to transform Iowa Speedway into a much more popular entertainment and racing destination as well as a much more powerful economic engine for the state,” Small said.
Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds cited a recent study that found the racetrack has provided a “$50 million boost” to economic activity in the state.
Branstad noted the significance of being able to sign the bill into law in the same town where the racetrack is located. He explained he has three days to sign bills after passed by the Legislature and was glad he could the sign it in Newton.
“I want to thank the Legislature for it’s timing to make it possible for us to do it while we’re here. I couldn’t think of a better place to do it,” he said.Branstad signed the legislation before a Jasper County “Iowa is Working” town hall meeting with Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds. Small noted the Iowa Speedway’s opening day is May 17.