With the approval of the enormous tax breaks and subsidies for the Lee County fertilizer plant yesterday — $240 million for 165 “permanent jobs” — it’s time to rerun an old celebration of corporate welfare that originally ran when Microsoft got bribed to locate a data farm in West Des Moines.
August 21, 2008
In a tearful virtual press conference held at their corporate headquarters, Roth & Company spokesman Joe Kristan recanted his opposition to targeted tax breaks and vowed to accept massive government subsidies on behalf of the firm.
“We are really excited about the new Microsoft server farm. The bipartisan enthusiasm for taking money from taxpayers and giving it to selected businesses frankly moved us,” said Kristan. “With Microsoft receiving tax breaks worth $40 million to create 50 jobs next year, and maybe 75 eventually, we realized that our 35-employee firm must be eligible for $28 million or so.” While the Microsoft benefits are in the form of tax breaks, said Kristan, “We prefer cash. We’ve already created the jobs and have been doing so for years. We’re willing to swallow our pride and take money for it. We could charge interest and muck up the tax law, but we’re a good corporate citizen. We’ll just take the money.”
Kristan pointed out that it was a better deal for the state than the Microsoft server farm in a number of ways. “We’re using a building that’s already there. You don’t have to put in roads or run fiber lines. Just write us a check. A wire transfer would be fine too.”
Kristan said the firm was committed to creating “dozens, maybe hundreds of thousands of jobs” eventually — “someday, somehow, somewhere.”
The firm, which was started in 1990, plans to use the money on a number of projects. Kristan said it would be nice to have a couple of fully redundant sets of file servers for the office. “Not so much a server ‘farm’ as a server patio garden,” he explained. The firm also plans to install a state of the art coffee maker to provide fresh brewed coffee from freshly-ground beans on demand. The remainder of the funds are expected to be used to fund energy independence, affordable health care and retirement security for the firm’s owners.
“We thank Governor Culver, Senator Grassley, Congressman Boswell and Senator Gronstal for opening our eyes to the benefits of these targeted incentives,” said Kristan. “We are confident that the necessary legislation will pass. All it will take is for our elected officials to give our proposal the same scrutiny they gave to the proposals by Microsoft and Google.”