Record deal lands new jobs but demands accountability
Iowa gives big tax breaks to lure plant
In terms of economic development in Iowa, the numbers are unprecedented.
Orascom Construction Industries plans to build a $1.4 billion fertilizer plant in Lee County [Iowa], the largest capital investment in the state’s history. To keep the plant from being built in Illinois, Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad and development officials pledged up to $110 million in state tax breaks and other assistance, while Lee County added $133 million in tax breaks. The company also will save $360 million in interest payments by borrowing construction funds through a government program created to help businesses in counties that were declared disaster areas in 2008.
The project will create 165 plant jobs and employ hundreds during construction. Spinoff investments are possible. Farmers will benefit from a nearby fertilizer source. And Lee County, with an unemployment rate above 8 percent, certainly needs a boost.
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