Iowa Might Not be so Attractive for CA Businesses

John Seiler
John Seiler, an editorial writer with The Orange County Register for 19 years, is a reporter and analyst for CalWatchDog.com.

Long Beach still sometimes is called “Iowa Beach” because so many people from that state migrated West from the snow and the corn fields to the beach and the sun. Now, they could be going the other way:

“DES MOINES, Iowa – Gov. Terry Branstad said Monday that he’s heading to California in an effort to get West Coast businesses to consider setting up shop in Iowa. Calling California a ‘happy hunting ground,’ Branstad said he’ll travel there this week, but the Republican declined to name the businesses he’ll be courting. 

“‘What we do, we call on companies that already have an investment here and we call companies that are prospects,’ Branstad said, arguing that Iowa’s efforts to reduce commercial taxes should make it attractive. ‘Their plan is if it doesn’t move, tax it’”

I wish Republicans would come up with some new cliches. But I suppose that’s asking too much.

His trip won’t make as many headlines as the recent business-poaching trip of Texas Gov. Rick Perry. And whereas Texas offers some obvious advantages over California, Iowa does not.

Iowa’s top state personal income tax rate is 8.98 percent, compared to 13.3 percent in California. Probably not enough of an improvement to lure millionaires from Pacific Palisades to Dubuque. By contrast, Texas offers zero percent.

The top state corporate income tax rate is 12.5 percent in Iowa, 8.84 percent in California and zero percent in Texas.

Earlier this year, Branstad said he would no longer pursue getting rid of Iowa’s corporate and personal income taxes. Instead, he’s going to focus on cutting property taxes.

Well, California’s property taxes already are fairly low thanks to Proposition 13. Although property prices here are triple those in Iowa and most other states because of our severe restrictions on building.

Bottom line: Iowa doesn’t offer enough incentives to attract many businesses and people to leave California. The Hawkeye State is the Golden State with bad weather.

The amber waves of grain still are no match for the golden beaches.

Crossposted on CalWatchDog

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