House File 2110 is in subcommittee this afternoon. The bill would establish the Quad Cities Regional Metropolitan Authority.
Paul Rumler, the CEO and president of the Quad Cities Chamber of Commerce, launched the effort to form the Quad Cities Regional Metropolitan Authority, according to the Quad-City Times.
The Metropolitan Authority would operate as a bi-state authority and allow for regional collaboration. The Authority would pursue outside funding revenues from federal and state grants, as well as private money. They could also bring forth a referendum for a new tax in Rock Island and Scott counties.
It’s an interesting idea, but Chris Ingstad, the president of Iowans for Tax Relief, said he’s always fearful when a layer of government is added.
“Seeing that there would potentially be some taxing authority means that taxes can very well go up on people,” Ingstad said.
But that isn’t the biggest reason for pause.
“My biggest concern is the fact that we’d be doing this in conjunction with the state of Illinois,” he said. “Nothing against the good people in the Illinois Quad Cities, but the state as a whole doesn’t exactly have their financial house in order. If you start talking about a taxing authority or federal grants, which a lot of those federal grants require matching local funds, I’d hate to be on the hook for matching local funds where my partner is Illinois.”
People are fleeing Illinois at an alarming rate. And that’s mostly due to the state’s economic issues.
“Unfortunately, I can just envision too many scenarios where taxpayers and citizens in Iowa get left on the hook or left to carry a bigger portion of that bill,” Ingstad said. “Trying to leverage the combined size and the combined amenities of that region is not a bad thing. But again, you start talking about taxes and you start talking about money flowing to and from and that gets to be a little bit of a different story.”
Ultimately, even if the bill passed, a proposed tax increase would have to be approved by voters in Rock Island and Scott counties.