Iowa might not be so attractive for CA businesses

February 21, 2013 - By admin

corn fieldFeb. 21, 2013

By John Seiler

Long Beach still sometimes is called “Iowa Beach” because so many people from that state migrated West from the snow and the corn fields to the beach and the sun. Now, they could be going the other way:

“DES MOINES, Iowa – Gov. Terry Branstad said Monday that he’s heading to California in an effort to get West Coast businesses to consider setting up shop in Iowa. Calling California a ‘happy hunting ground,’ Branstad said he’ll travel there this week, but the Republican declined to name the businesses he’ll be courting. 

“‘What we do, we call on companies that already have an investment here and we call companies that are prospects,’ Branstad said, arguing that Iowa’s efforts to reduce commercial taxes should make it attractive. ‘Their plan is if it doesn’t move, tax it’”

I wish Republicans would come up with some new cliches. But I suppose that’s asking too much.

His trip won’t make as many headlines as the recent business-poaching trip of Texas Gov. Rick Perry. And whereas Texas offers some obvious advantages over California, Iowa does not.

Iowa’s top state personal income tax rate is 8.98 percent, compared to 13.3 percent in California. Probably not enough of an improvement to lure millionaires from Pacific Palisades to Dubuque. By contrast, Texas offers zero percent.

The top state corporate income tax rate is 12.5 percent in Iowa, 8.84 percent in California and zero percent in Texas.

Earlier this year, Branstad said he would no longer pursue getting rid of Iowa’s corporate and personal income taxes. Instead, he’s going to focus on cutting property taxes.

Well, California’s property taxes already are fairly low thanks to Proposition 13. Although property prices here are triple those in Iowa and most other states because of our severe restrictions on building.

Bottom line: Iowa doesn’t offer enough incentives to attract many businesses and people to leave California. The Hawkeye State is the Golden State with bad weather.

The amber waves of grain still are no match for the golden beaches.



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  1. jimmydeeoc says:

    All true, John.

    Though Iowa does offer one important advantage: A workforce that can read and write.

    “Iowa had the nation’s highest graduation rate in 2010-11, according to U.S. Department of Education data released today.”

  2. Naresh Krishnamoorti says:

    What does Cal Watchdog have against Gov. Perry? This is the second article I’ve read that uses a pejorative word (“poaching”) to describe his activities.

  3. us citizen says:

    Ill trade a Pelosi, Feinstein, Boxer and Brown for one Perry in Texas.

  4. Rightwinger says:

    Iowa does have one of the best school systems in the USA and great public Colleges…. that is because the property taxes they collect actually go to the schools… from building them to rehabing the ones that went up during the WPA era…. that DOES equal a workforce that can read and write… they lost allot of manufacturing business in the 70s due to the union plants closing and moving to non-union states… they still did not get it though cause when the car companies came a calling in the 80′s they lost out there too cause Iowa workers wanted union shops…even though they had HUGE manufacturing space sitting empty… they went south to the Carolina’ etc they would have probably have done better if they did not try and go the union route

  5. DavidfromLosGatos says:

    Pass on Iowa. Too flat and boring and high tax. What’s the point of the pain of moving to an almost as high as tax rate as CA?

    IMO, best of the Midwest is South Dakota. No income tax, and relatively low everything else. Western part of South Dakota has beautiful scenery, large parks, mountains, rivers, etc., and is allegedly (but not really) a “banana belt” compared to the eastern half of the state. OK, winters are not so great – but no worse than Iowa.

    Colorado has better weather, scenery and taxes than Iowa. Plus, educated work force willing to work for less than in Silicon Valley, because the cost of living is lower. A flat 4.6% income tax is not nearly as greedy as California. Denver has all major sports, and is very walkable downtown.

    Texas is OK, but nothing special to look at, and too dang hot in the summer.

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Joseph Perkins
Joseph Perkins, now assistant editor of the Orange County Register Opinion Pages, started his career as an editorial writer for the Wall Street Journal. After serving on the White House Staff of former Vice President Dan Quayle he wrote for the San Diego Union-Tribune where he authored a nationally-syndicated column. Before writing for, Mr. Perkins was also Business Editor for San Diego Magazine.
Chris Reed
Chris Reed is a regular contributor to Cal Watchdog. Reed is an editorial writer for U-T San Diego. Before joining the U-T in July 2005, he was the opinion-page columns editor and wrote the featured weekly Unspin column for The Orange County Register. Reed was on the national board of the Association of Opinion Page Editors from 2003-2005. From 2000 to 2005, Reed made more than 100 appearances as a featured news analyst on Los Angeles-area National Public Radio affiliate KPCC-FM. From 1990 to 1998, Reed was an editor, metro columnist and film critic at the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin in Ontario. Reed has a political science degree from the University of Hawaii (Hilo campus), where he edited the student newspaper, the Vulcan News, his senior year. He is on Twitter: @chrisreed99.
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John Seiler
John Seiler has been writing about California for 25 years. That includes 22 years as an editorial writer for the Orange County Register and two years for, where he is managing editor. He attended the University of Michigan and graduated from Hillsdale College. He was a Russian linguist in U.S. Army military intelligence from 1978 to 1982. He was an editor and writer for Phillips Publishing Company from 1983 to 1986. He has written for Policy Review, Chronicles,, Flash Report and numerous other publications. His email:

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