Democrat Governor Tom Vilsack today lambasted Republican opponent Doug Gross for proposing “targeted” tax breaks for business, although Vilsack himself has signed several industry-specific tax breaks into law. Vilsack says Gross’ idea of tax breaks for certain businesses is “reckless” and “irresponsible.” Vilsack says the state can’t afford to grant such tax breaks when it’s a struggle to back core priorities like education and providing health insurance to poor kids.But just this year, the Governor approved a “targeted” tax break for the insurance industry. Vilsack maintains that’s different, because it doesn’t take effect for a couple of years. Vilsack says his own economic development ideas, such as a hike in the minimum wage, have widespread benefits, while Gross’ target narrowed interests.Vilsack says the Gross economic development plan is based on Gross’ experience as a corporate lobbyist, so he believes that if you give special interest tax breaks, the economy will improve. Vilsack says his own plan is based on his experience as a small town Mayor. Gross campaign spokesman Eric Woolson says Gross’ approach of targeted tax cuts has worked. He says when the tax laws were changed in the 1980’s to encourage insurance company growth. that industry took off.Woolson says Vilsack has been a “Rip Van Winkle” on economic development. Woolson says for the past three and a half years, Vilsack’s been asleep while the state’s economy tanked but now that there’s an election he’s started talking about economic development.
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