Smart Choices for Economic Growth
Education, Infrastructure Concerns Valid in State Consultant Report
Details Leave Much Room for Discussion — and Stopping More Bad Spin on Taxes

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE THURSDAY, DECEMBER 18, 2014



IOWA CITY, Iowa — The Iowa Policy Project issued the following statement from IPP Research Director Peter Fisher about the Battelle report released Thursday by Iowa economic development officials and Governor Branstad:

“We particularly welcome the strong support for the importance of education and workforce skills training, but we note specifics are few on how to put more resources into education, lower tuition and make higher education more affordable.

“Infrastructure concerns noted in the report are valid, significant and established. They deserve and appear to be getting attention as we approach the 2015 session.

“It is unfortunate, however, that this report retreated to tired and inaccurate claims about Iowa taxes on business, which in fact are highly competitive as they exist now and, arguably, overly generous to selected companies. While a desire for tax simplification is reasonable — the problem does not exist in the rate structure, but in the elements that produce winners and losers among similarly situated taxpayers in our state. We need to be looking for more balance in business taxes — and more revenue to support the services identified in this report and elsewhere as necessary for economic growth.

“Finally, it is clear that Iowa must, as the study claimed to do, ‘engage a broad range of economic stakeholders,’ but this must include representation from all facets of the economy, including workers and students.”

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The Iowa Policy Project is a nonpartisan public policy analysis and research organization based in Iowa City. Reports are at www.iowapolicyproject.org. Tax-deductible contributions to support IPP work may be made here.

Peter FisherPeter S. Fisher is a national expert on public finance and has served as a consultant to the Iowa Department of Economic Development, the State of Ohio, and the Iowa Business Council. His reports are regularly published in State Tax Notes and refereed journals. His book Grading Places: What Do the Business Climate Rankings Really Tell Us? was published by Good Jobs First in 2013. Fisher holds a Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and he is professor emeritus of Urban and Regional Planning at the University of Iowa.