Attacks on incentives harm state

The Gazette Opinion Staff
Published: July 29 2013 | 12:01 am - Updated: 28 March 2014 | 6:20 pm in
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By State Sen. Randy Feenstra

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As an advocate for job growth in Iowa, I cannot let the recent misinformation presented by Senate Democrats go unaddressed. I am disappointed that elected officials continue to attack companies, jobs and economic development in our great state. Sen. Joe Bolkcom and his Democratic colleagues are once again trying to use one of our state’s largest economic development investments to advance their political agenda.

They failed to check the facts before delving into the discussion. The tax credits being offered to the Iowa Fertilizer Company are not new. The tax credits were always part of the good faith understanding between the company and the state and were necessary to ensure that the new jobs and investment occurred in Iowa.

I am not sure what Senate Democrats are taking issue with most, if it is the 165 jobs being created or the $1.8 billion investment being made in a county struggling to lower unemployment rates. However, I take great issue with the attack on this company investing in our state, amid a history of Democratic support of tax credit programs.

Bolkcom also has loudly and consistently attacked another successful economic development tool: Iowa’s research activities credits. When you attack these credits, you attack some of the state’s most stalwart engines of growth and prosperity, such as Pioneer, John Deere and Rockwell Collins.

In addition to missing key information, Senate Democrats are now working against the programs they helped to create.

Gov. Terry Branstad and the Iowa Economic Development Authority have handled this project the right way. They have the same team, same policies and same requirements for this company as they do for any other company looking to locate in Iowa. What the Democrats fail to realize is that by singling out companies, they are creating an atmosphere in which businesses are discouraged from investing in our state, lest they be subject to the same baseless scrutiny.

Furthermore, we would not need to rely on tax incentive programs if real income tax relief was made a priority. Tax reform is simply good policy and that puts money back in family budgets, creates jobs and helps grow the economy.

Lee County has been given a tremendous opportunity to expand its work force and the state of Iowa has stepped in to ensure that becomes a reality. Not only has the Iowa Fertilizer Co. added $400 million to its original projections, but it also is making good on its promises.

Let’s look past the campaign-style attacks, and come together to build Iowa’s economy.

State Sen. Randy Feenstra, R-Hull, is an insurance manager and agent. Comments: randy.feenstra@isbinsurance.com

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