Branstad’s deceptively false choice

Governor says handouts to fertilizer plants wouldn’t be necessary if Iowa had lower tax rates, but he’s talking about giving away public money to subsidize corporate profits either way


Governor Terry Branstad offered a false choice to Iowans this week when he claimed that his economic development agency wouldn’t have had to give CF Industries $71.5 million in public money to build a fertilizer plant in Sioux City if the state of Iowa had lower corporate and commercial property tax rates.  The news comes weeks after Branstad offered a similar deal to a foreign fertilizer corporation who wanted to set up shop in Lee County.

“This is our money he’s talking about,” said Adam Mason, the statewide policy organizing director at Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement Action Fund (CCI Action).

“Branstad’s argument that these giant handouts to big business wouldn’t be necessary if we had even lower tax rates for corporations is a deceptively false choice and a disservice to everyday, hardworking Iowans.  Whether handouts disguised as ‘economic incentives’ or more tax cuts for corporations, either way Branstad is spending public dollars to subsidize corporate profits, and it ain’t right.”

“This money should be invested in our communities – to fully fund the Department of Natural Resources, Workforce Development, and our public universities – not given away wholesale to line the pockets of big corporations who would have located in Iowa anyway.”

Iowa CCI Action Fund members say Governor Branstad is trying to have it both ways.  Throughout his administration he has cut spending on vital services and attacked public employees on one hand, saying we don’t have the money to fully-fund state government, while on the other hand doling out tens of millions of dollars to big corporations.

“To add insult to injury, the state of Iowa is sitting on a nearly $1 billion budget surplus, and Branstad wants to give that away in tax breaks for the richest 1 percent and big-moneyed corporate interest groups rather than lower tuition at Iowa’s universities or fully-fund environmental protections and wage-theft enforcement,” Mason added.

CCI Action Fund members’ tax agenda is to close corporate tax loopholes on out of state corporations doing business in Iowa – otherwise known as “combined corporate reporting” – a practice that will increase the competitiveness of local businesses that can add up to $100 million in new revenue every year.

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