In Iowa, your taxes help corporations not pay theirs

By Paul Brennan | Iowa Watchdog

DES MOINES, Iowa — As the deadline to pay income taxes approaches, it’s important to remember that government does more than just take your money — it also uses your money to let others skip paying taxes.

The Iowa Economic Development Authority announced Friday it had approved almost $1.7 million in tax credits and other incentives for four well-established, profitable companies that intend to expand or build manufacturing facilities in the state.

The biggest state tax break announced Friday went to Tyson Fresh Meats, which was awarded more than $950,000 in tax credits. It is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Tyson Foods, the second largest food production company in the country. Since opening its doors in Iowa in 1986, the company has received more than $7 million in tax credits and loans from the state.

Gavilon Ingredients, headquartered in Nebraska but owned by a Japanese corporation, received $234,000 in tax credits to build a storage facility in Council Bluffs. That city sweetened the deal by offering Gavilon a complete tax abatement for three years.

FEELING PLUCKED CLEAN BY TAX MAN? Iowa is doing its part to make sure mega-chicken corporation Tyson and three other profitable companies don’t feel that way by hand out a new round of tax credits.

Illinois-based JEDA Polymers received $219,500 in tax credits and a forgivable loan of $120,000 to build a plant in Iowa. Freund-Victor, a division of a major Japanese corporation, received $151,500 to expand its Marion facility.

Of course, $950,000 isn’t much more than chicken feed to a company like Tyson, which posted $583 million in profits in 2013. It also doesn’t compare with the tens of millions of tax dollars the state paid out to big companies through the Research Activities Credit last year.

But it is probably enough to leave tax payers feel well and truly plucked.

Contact Paul Brennan at pbrennan@watchdog.org

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com, a columnist for the Forum News Service, and host of the Plain Talk Podcast which you can subscribe to by clicking here.

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