WILTON — Governor Kim Reynolds went to the “Candy Kitchen” in Wilton, Iowa, Monday to sign a bill that will boost state investment in rural Iowa.

“This iconic Iowa business really embodies the small town character that we’re famous for and it is the perfect example of why we should do everything we can to preserve, grow and strengthen our small town way of life,” Reynolds said.

The Empower Rural Iowa Act includes $25 million in tax credits for home builders, for construction in rural communities.

“We have jobs that are available all over this state, but we can’t fill the jobs if there’s not a place to call home, so this bill….doubles the rural set-aside in workforce housing tax credits and, for the first year, the full $25 million will go to clear the current backlog for rural projects.” State housing tax credits will no longer be awarded on a first-come, first-served basis either. Home builders will have to submit to a competitive bidding process to win the state grants.

Lt. Governor and Governor.

The Empower Rural Iowa Act also updates the rules for handing out another $5 million in state grants to companies that extend broadband to underserved rural areas. “We’re just getting started when it comes to that. I told ’em I’d take $5 million, but we’re coming back for more next year so we can continue to grow and expand and be the most connected state in the country!” Reynolds said.

The bill Reynolds signed into law creates a new “Center for Rural Revitalization” in state government. The center’s charge is to find and support leaders in Iowa’s rural communities.