One of the state’s most powerful lobbying groups has launched a campaign to derail the major economic development initiative being drafted in the Legislature. Jeff Boeyink of “Iowans for Tax Relief” says having the state borrow the money for a two billion dollar economic development fund would quadruple state debt. He says they’re absolutely opposed to any plan that relies on borrowed money. Boeyink says the state shouldn’t be picking winners and losers in the business world by handing out state money to certain companies. He says we already know you can’t tax your way to prosperity, and they think it’s absurd to think you can borrow your way to prosperity. Boeyink’s group contributed almost a quarter of a MILLION dollars to between 60 and 70 legislative candidates last fall, and to add to that influence, the group has launched an expensive advertising blitz that’s critical of the borrowing plan. He says the state is legislating as if they don’t do something, the state will dry up and blow away. He says that’s not the case. The Iowa chapter of the National Federation of Independent Business also today announced its opposition to the various economic development funds under consideration. David Brasher, the group’s state director, says a quick survey of its members found 76 percent opposed to what Brasher calls “borrowing schemes.” Brasher says since every plan that’s unveiled is labeled “bold” — he’s calling it the “great bold rush of 2003.” Brasher says “if it’s bold, people put that label on the bottle, people can’t wait to line up and drink the Kool-Aid” — a reference to the mass murder, by poisoned punch, of thousands of followers of a religious leader named Jim Jones. Brasher says legislators should instead spend their time fixing Iowa’s tax and regulatory climate.Republican legislators are defending the idea of borrowing two-billion dollars to hand out to targeted businesses to stimulate the economy. House Speaker Christopher Rants, a republican from Sioux City, says the benefits outweigh the risks. Two years ago, the state borrowed millions for the “Vision Iowa” account and the money was handed out for community projects.Rants says that’s a good example of what can be done when the state chooses to embark on a project to revitalize communities, and he says this new idea is very similar. Rants says another consideration is the extremely low interest rates available now. Rants says “there may never be another opportunity to embark upon a project like this again.”