Governor Chet Culver says it’s time for a thorough review of all state tax credits, not just the tax credits for film makers which recently have come under scrutiny.
“That will be a part of our comprehensive review. We’re going to make that a priority and bring in all of those agency directors,” Culver says. “I believe John Frew, the new chief of staff, will be meeting with them next week.” Culver’s new chief of staff starts work on Monday.
There are 28 different kinds of state tax credits for things like job creation, preservation of historic properties and even textbook purchases. A handful of agencies are responsible for tracking those credits, projected to be worth nearly half million dollars. Culver fired the Film Office director this past Monday after revelations that state tax credits for movie makers were being misused.
“Something went wrong, clearly — terribly wrong and what the motive was and exactly how that happened is exactly the answer we’re trying to get as quickly as we can,” Culver says.
Over 150 film producers filed applications with the state, seeking the tax credits, and the governor says he expects a “full and complete” accounting of all of them. One of the movie companies which tried to claim a tax credit for a luxury vehicle has responded to state officials, offering to compensate the state for their error. At some point, the governor says the state tax credit program for film makers should resume.
“Done right, yes. Done within the laws and the rules with a positive benefit to the taxpayers, yes,” Culver says. “Done any other way, no.”
Culver spoke with Radio Iowa this afternoon as he rode a train from Albia to Ottumwa. Culver boarded a Burlington Northern Sante Fe train in Creston early today and made stops across in southern Iowa along the Amtrak route.