Friday, September 23, 2005

They'll shop 'til we drop

Yesterday, 18 of the 25 Iowa Senate Democrats endorsed Mike Blouin for Governor. My favorite comment was Senator Matt McCoy's endorsement suggesting that Mike Blouin would be the candidate to best continue the Vilsack administration legacy. Hmm. Good stuff.

And what exactly is that shared legacy?

Economic development in the form of the Grow Iowa Values Fund:

... The underlying theme of the fund, and the state's new tilt on economic development, is relatively simple. There's a general feeling among Iowans that taxes are high enough, but they also want to retain the state and local services that make the state special.

The answer spelled out by the initial Values Fund, is to raise tax revenues by luring new companies, promoting startups and capitalizing on expansion plans by existing companies. ...

... The goal is to increase the state's tax revenue by $175 million.

"We think the numbers show we're well on the way of making that happen," Blouin said.

But little of that money has come southeast Iowa's way.

Mc Global, a startup planning to begin operations this year in the former Wabash National building outside Fort Madison, received a $300,000 incentive, which doesn't even register when considering the $10 million grant handed to Wells Fargo and the $9 million given to Trans Ova. ...

... "No one builds a factory until they look around first, and very few people look around until you invite them," he said, noting IDED has become an active sales forces, using the Values Fund as a hook. ... (The Hawkeye)

A promise to remove federal deductibility while artfully skirting the issue of tax neutrality:

On tax issues, he wants to eliminate federal deductibility, which is the tax break that allows Iowans to deduct federal income taxes when calculating their state income taxes. He said this would simplify Iowa's system and make tax rates appear lower.

Gov. Tom Vilsack has made similar arguments, but has been unable to get far in his efforts to eliminate federal deductibility.
(Globe Gazette)
Increased spending on tourism through a tax increase:

… Blouin said that while tourism brings in considerable revenue, Iowa still has one of the lowest budgets to promote tourism per capita of any state. And although tourism is gaining attention in the Legislature, Blouin feels that it isn't getting far enough.

"The problem is that tourism is not high enough on the priority list; we need to create a new source of revenue," he said. "We need creative funding solutions so that tourism is not competing with other general budget issues. So it's not education or tourism."

One option that Blouin discussed is having a rental car tax that would fund only tourism.

He said that tourism plays an important role in the development of a new Iowa identity. … (The Daily Nonpareil or IE)

See what else Mike Blouin has to say on the issues. Okay, maybe next year.

(I know, so much for personal stuff in this blog.)

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