Truly we live in the age of wonders. A new set of economic development tax credits made it to the floor of the Iowa House on a Friday — and failed. It’s a wonder that they actually showed up on a Friday — and to reject corporate welfare, to boot.
Before we get excited, it would be wrong to believe that the Iowa General Assembly has suddenly come to its senses about tax incentives. It appears that many of the “no” votes on HF 2472 were from people who felt it wasn’t a big enough giveaway, reports the Des Moines Register:
Democratic leader Mark Smith, D-Marshalltown, said his members voted against the bill because they felt it didn’t go far enough in incentivizing and stimulating the expansion of high-speed Internet service.
Governer Branstad was unhappy:
“Rather than coming together to pass common sense legislation to increase broadband access in rural Iowa, Iowa House Democrats have turned their backs on rural Iowans and those who are under served,” Branstad said. “Today, the Iowa House Democrats played the worst of political cards; the Washington, D.C., hand of ignoring what is in the best interest of the taxpayers for political purposes.”
But nine Republicans also voted no in the 44-51 vote against the bill: Heartsill (Marion), Mawell (Poweshiek), Pettengill (Benson), Salmon (Black Hawk), Shaw (Pocahontas), Sheetas (Appanoose), Upmeyer (Cerro Gordo), Vander Linden (Mahaska), and Watts (Dallas). If four of them had voted with the Governor, the bill would have passed. The Des Moines Register didn’t bother to ask the Republicans why they voted no, but O. Kay Henderson did:
Representative Guy Vander Linden of Oskaloosa was among the nine Republicans who voted no.
“The ‘Connect Iowa’ bill, in my mind, doesn’t connect any Iowan, let alone every Iowan,” Vander Linden said.
Vander Linden faulted the bill for the way it handed out tax breaks to companies.
“We don’t say they need to meet any requirements in terms of our capacity, speed — anything. All we say is: “If you will put broadband infrastructure in place in any unserved or underserved area…we’ll give you all these benefits,” Vander Linden said. “That, to me, sounds like a blank check that I’m not willing to sign up to.”
Lack of standards and accountability hasn’t stopped tax credit giveaways before. And they actually worked on a Friday, too. Yes, it truly is an age of wonders.
The reason I get sad nothing to do with taxes or fears that the client will be over-aggressive with deductions.
The reason I get sad is: so few of them actually make money.
Paul Neiffer, Are You Still Running Windows XP?! I finally upgraded to Windows 8.1 at home this weekend — a virtual machine on an iMac running Parallels Desktop. It was the smoothest Windows installation I’ve ever done — it actually went without a hitch the first time through.
TaxProf, The IRS Scandal, Day 354
Renu Zaretsky, Tax Shelters, Tax Fights, and One Way to Reform a Zombie. The TaxVox headline roundup includes an update on House taxwriter plans to work on an “extenders” bill this week.
William McBride, Corporate Exits Accelerating, Taking Jobs with Them (Tax Policy Bl0g). Rates matter.
U.S. residents must pay U.S. tax, regardless of celestial citizenship. A Minnesota couple hasn’t gotten the message, according to PioneerPress.com:
Living in the “Kingdom of Heaven” will not get you out of paying taxes, according to federal prosecutors.
On Tuesday, Tami Mae May, 55, was indicted in U.S. District Court in Minneapolis on 15 counts of filing fraudulent tax returns and a single count of obstruction of due administration of internal revenue laws, according to the U.S. attorney’s office.
Through 2013, she claimed “zero income,” signed under altered certifications, said both she and her husband were not citizens of the United States but were instead permanent residents of the “Kingdom of Heaven,” and reported false withholdings in an attempt to claim “hundreds of thousands of dollars in fraudulent … refunds,” the U.S. attorney’s office said.
I need to research where the Bible says you can recover cash from the IRS as a result of a divine passport.
Practitioners everywhere are putting their lives together after another tax season. Yes, it’s rough, but it’s unlikely you will still be sorting out this tax season two years from now, like an Iowa woman who is just getting her 2012 tax season put to bed.
Here’s what this North Liberty tax practitioner faced in 2012:
The co-owner of a local tax service has been accused of using more than $22,000 from the business’s savings account to cover her credit card bills and her husband was arrested for allegedly causing a drunken disturbance at a local elementary school.
According to an Iowa City police criminal complaint, an investigator met with a co-owner of C & M Tax Service. The other co-owner is 31-year-old Melissa M. Frost of North Liberty.
But it was worse than that:
Police said Frost’s husband, 33-year-old Cory A. Frost was also arrested on Friday. Cory Frost went to North Bend Elementary in North Liberty at 2:45 p.m. to confront an employee there concerning a “situation with his wife,” according to North Liberty police Lt. Diane Venega. It is unclear if that situation is related to Melissa Frost’s arrest.
When police found Frost, he smelled of alcohol and appeared to be intoxicated. Police said Frost had a blood-alcohol content of .204 percent. He was previously convicted of public intoxication.
KCRG provides an update:
A North Liberty woman accused of stealing money from her own business entered an Alford plea as part of a plea deal with prosecutors.
Melissa Frost, 34, entered the pleas on two separate counts of tampering with records last week, according to online court records. Under the Alford Plea, Frost admits no guilt but acknowledges there is likely enough evidence to convict her.
As part of the deal, Frost received a sentence of probation and deferred judgement, which means she could have the conviction expunged from her record if she fulfills the terms of her probation.
So however bad your tax season was, this is a reminder that somebody, somewhere, probably had it worse.
Tags: economic development, corporate welfare, tax crime, TaxProf, Kay Bell, Russ Fox, O Kay Henderson, TaxGrrrl, Paul Neiffer, Branstad tax policy, William McBride, Jason Dinesen, Tax Justice Blog, Renu Zaretsky