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Work From Home Grants May Be on the Horizon Locally

Area cities may benefit in increasing populations by marketing to those who work from home. A group of senators are discussing the idea of giving state grants of up to $5,000 to new remote workers in Iowa who telecommute to jobs out-of-state. Joe Murphy is executive director of the Iowa Business Council, which represents 22 of Iowa’s largest employers.

The U.S. Census Bureau estimates Iowa’s population grew by just 4,000 people from mid-2019 to mid-2020. Craig Patterson, a lobbyist for the Professional Developers of Iowa, says more new Iowans are needed to help existing businesses grow and bring new businesses here.

The original concept was to give at least 100 grants in each of the next five years to cover the costs of someone moving to Iowa and setting up to work from home for out-of-state companies. However, the latest version of the bill also would make residents of the state’s 30 largest cities eligible for the grants if they move to rural Iowa or an Iowa city with a population under 15,000. Senator Bill Dotzler, a Democrat from Waterloo, says that makes no sense if the goal is to expand Iowa’s population.

A senate subcommittee reviewed the proposal this week, but tabled it as senators consider making changes.

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