WIUM Tristates Public Radio

Lee County Facing Competition for Jobs

Jun 7, 2012

Lee County, IA has some competition in its efforts to land a new industry.

The county has spent months trying to encourage Iowa Fertilizer Company to build a plant on several hundred acres of land just north of Fort Madison.

The company is a subsidiary of Orascom Construction Industries, which is headquartered in Cairo, Egypt.

The $1.3-billion plant could create up to 200 permanent jobs and several thousand short-term construction jobs.

The state of Iowa has already pledged roughly $30-million in tax credits and $1.6-million in loans.  The proposal calls for the company to borrow around $1-billion and provide $100-million for the project.

There is no deal in place, though, which has led Illinois to jump into the mix.

The Illinois State Senate approved legislation on the last day of session that offers tax credits to companies investing at least $1-billion in the state before the end of the calendar year.

The House of Representatives would have to hold a special session to approve the measure and send it on to Governor Pat Quinn.

Illinois’ plan calls for the plant to be built in the Peoria area.

Supervisor Larry Kruse says Lee County, IA is still working on its own incentive package for Iowa Fertilizer Company.

He says it could be presented to the full Board of Supervisors later this month.