• Tax incentives: A 'great tool' for pursuit of economic development

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    October 20, 2017

    There is a lot of discussion today about some of the tools states, counties and cities use for economic development. Some of the things I hear are inaccurate.

    As someone who served on the board of the Tax Research Council from the 1970s through the early 1990s, who served for 10 years on the board of the Iowa Department of Economic Development in the 1990s and who today serves on the board of The Siouxland Initiative (the Siouxland Chamber of Commerce's economic development arm), I'm going to do my best to explain some of the tools as factually as possible.

    States, cities and counties all can and do use tax incentives to keep and attract businesses that are expanding or are startups. You might ask: Do companies play states against one another? Absolutely, they are trying to get the most they can. Is it worth it to the states and or communities to give such incentives? Yes, it is for the greatest majority of projects because permanent jobs are created as well as construction work, which means products are purchased, property values go up and, in turn, sales tax and income tax are generated.