The Iowa Senate has given final legislative approval to a bill that would extend tax breaks to Microsoft if the computer giant decides to build a new facility here. Senator Pat Ward, a Republican from West Des Moines, says Microsoft is the type of company the state should be trying to lure here.
"I think our message to this company and other companies like this is that we are open for business and we want you to be in our state," Ward says. The bill already had passed the Iowa House, with only one dissenting vote and just two of the 50 state senators voted "no" on the measure Wednesday. Senator Dick Dearden, a Democrat from Des Moines, was one of them.
Dearden points to Microsoft’s earnings as evidence the company doesn’t need a tax break. "For $14 billion we could run our budget for the state of Iowa for two years and still have a lot of change left over," Dearden says. "There’s just no reason we have to keep handing out corporate welfare." Backers of the bill say Microsoft is considering several central Iowa locations for its new data center.
Last year, Google chose Council Bluffs as the site for its new "server farm" after the state established the same kind of tax breaks which are being set up for Microsoft.