I sat in on an enlightening chat today thanks to a heads up from Joe Kristan’s Tax Update Blog with Sen. Joe Bolkom and Rep. Jeff Kaufmann, lawmakers involved in setting Iowa’s tax policy, regarding the future of some of Iowa’s generous tax credits. The biggest thing that I learned today was how the legislature has viewed the state of Iowa: like a law firm that is fighting to retain its biggest clients, rather than focusing on its value proposition.
That’s the essence of the tax credits, to attract or retain what government officials feel are the best clients for the state of Iowa. I propose that the state of Iowa take more of a Wal-Mart approach, which is well summarized in the Quick and Dirty Iowa Tax Reform Plan at the Tax Update Blog.
The state government needs to strip down unnecessary (notice I’m not talking about waste, fraud or abuse) spending and get back to the basics of what the state government is obligated to provide to its citizens. Then with this lean and mean philosophy, pass that savings along to the customers (taxpayers) and grow revenues for the state by attracting new customers, not by charging more to the current customers for something they don’t value.