Governor Branstad says the state needs to compete with other states by offering direct grants to businesses promising to expand or locate here. He cites the recent effort to get a BabyBel Cheese factory in Iowa. “It ended up in South Dakota,” Branstad says.
“It wasn’t just the tax structure. They provided about $21 million in incentives that also helped attract them to South Dakota, so in the world that we live in today, which is a very competitive world economy, I don’t think that we can say that we can live without providing some incentives.”
However, Branstad’s fellow Republicans in the House have still not endorsed the governor’s request for 25-million dollars to hand out as grants and loans to business prospects. “We’re continuing to work through that process with the legislature and we’re very hopeful that we can see that,” Branstad says.
This could be the final week of the 2012 legislative session, if decisions like this on state spending can be finalized. “I’m pretty optimistic. We have a general agreement, overall, in terms of the overall budget,” Branstad says.
“That has to be worked out.” A compromise tax plan is in the works, too. Branstad says he’s reached agreement with legislative leaders and it’s now being reviewed by rank-and-file legislators to see if it can pass the Republican-led House and Democratically-led Senate.
The governor’s also pressing legislators to put the finishing touches on an education reform plan.