Iowa State Senator Joe Bolkcom spoke out today saying that Governor Terry Branstad offered excessive financial incentives to Egyptian-based Orascom Construction Industries (OCI) as a means of securing OCI's commitment to build in Iowa. The State of Iowa offered OCI and Iowa Fertilizer Company $110 million in state tax credits and $130 million in local tax breaks.
OCI selected a 500-acre Lee County, Iowa, site for a $1.4 billion fertilizer production complex after kicking the tires at a number of Midwest sites. The Iowa Fertilizer Company's production complex will be positioned to service U.S. markets, producing nitrogen-based fertilizers.
The Lee County site lies on a flood plane and therefore also qualifies for Midwestern Disaster Area bonds amounting to another $300 million in federal money. According to Senator Bolkcom's math, that puts OCI in position to collect $550 million in federal, state and local subsidies - a figure he says, is much too high.
Tim Albrecht, a spokesman for Governor Branstad's office claims Iowa needed to offer up incentives to lure OCI and the Iowa Fertilizer Company away from neighboring Illinois. Albrecht continues, "Governor Branstad won't apologize for fighting for every single job that he can bring to the state."
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