Friday, October 23, 2009

Economic Development Professionals to Governor Culver: Allow Tax Credit Programs to Work

Many thanks to Iowa Governor Chet Culver for taking the time to speak at the Professional Developers of Iowa Annual Meeting and Fall Conference last week in West Des Moines. The Governor was candid about budget cuts, flood relief, and when asked, about Iowa’s tax credit programs. “We’re not going to over-react on tax credits,” said the Governor, when asked to stand with PDI to keep the programs going, “we will not tolerate bad actors abusing our incentives”(that very good, if unintentional play on words drew a few titters from the crowd). He was clear to the group of Iowa’s economic development leaders. He would be working to improve controls in administration of tax credit programs, “clawback” on past recipients if appropriate, but not change tax credit programs for film, job creation, historic preservation and more to grow Iowa’s economy.

There are those who want to eliminate tax credit programs in Iowa. Some think it would help save the budget. The fact is that tax credits are used to spur growth. A decrease in revenue to the state would be the result of fewer tax credits, not less cost. Still, there is a lot of support for Iowa’s tax credit programs to fuel growth in a sagging economy. Not the least of which is a guest editorial in the October 16 edition of The Des Moines Register by Ed Wallace, President of Iowa Taxpayers Association. Read it here. Decision makers should follow Governor Culver's lead. Don't "throw the baby out with the tax credits" in Iowa.

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