Iowa GOP chair: Anti-jobs, anti-transparency agenda of Hatch on display in Burlington debate

BURLINGTON, Iowa—Republican Party of Iowa chairman Jeff Kaufmann highlighted the anti-jobs and anti-transparency agenda of state Sen. Jack Hatch, a Des Moines Democrat, after the second debate of the 2014 gubernatorial cycle.

“There is a reason that voters in Iowa don’t support and don’t trust Jack Hatch: he is running a campaign on an anti-jobs and anti-transparency agenda,” said Kaufmann, a seventh-generation livestock farmer and community college professor from Wilton.

“Jack Hatch aggressively attacks good jobs in Southeast Iowa, but he maneuvered behind the scenes to kill legislation that would hurt his own bank account,” Kaufmann said. “He attacks tax credits used to create good jobs across the state, but he supports tax credits that line his own pockets. Making matters worse, he refuses to release his tax returns to reporters and to the public—even after promising to do so.”

Hatch obfuscates and misleads Iowans on killing tax credit bill

“The fact is we did not kill a bill,” Hatch said during the debate, citing a Des Moines Register story that describes his average developer fee at 9.2 percent. But Hatch still refuses to release his tax returns so Iowans and other journalists can confirm his record. What’s he hiding? And why did Democrats in the Senate appoint him to chair a subcommittee on the bill when his conflict of interest was so clear?

“With all due respect to the Des Moines Register, Iowans deserve to examine Hatch’s questionable business dealings themselves to determine whether his use of tax credits was appropriate,” Kaufmann said.

Furthermore, Hatch can’t deny that he killed the bill. He just plays politics with tired spin: “It wasn’t dead. It wasn’t taken up.”

Hatch fails the simplest test of a statewide figure running for public office

“Jack Hatch has been running for governor for more than a year, but he refuses to visit all 99 counties,” Kaufmann said. “He can’t explain his anti-jobs, anti-transparency record. His agenda would be terrible for Iowa, and Iowans know it. During the debate, Hatch said ‘What I’m saying is that Iowans need to listen’ in response to a question about why Gov. Branstad is so popular. That philosophy is just wrong. Hatch needs to listen to Iowans.”

Tonights debate was held at Edward Stone Middle School in Burlington and sponsored by The Hawk Eye, KWCQ News Channel 6 and the Greater Burlington Partnership.

BACKGROUND on Iowa’s views on the state’s direction

According to Gallup, “Iowans’ confidence in their state’s economy is at a robust +50 — significantly higher than the 50-state average of +23 — and places Iowa near the top of the list on this measure.” 67 percent of Iowans have trust state government. Iowa is moving in the right direction under the leadership of Gov. Branstad. Hatch wants to take us back to the failed agenda of Gov. Chet Culver.

BACKGROUND on S.F. 95

In the 2013 legislative session, state Sen. Brad Zaun, R-Urbandale, introduced a bill to reduce the maximum amount of developer tax credits through the Iowa Finance Authority from 15 to 10 percent. Senate Democrats assigned the bill, S.F. 95, to Hatch, the flailing Democrat nominee for governor. Hatch made sure that the bill never got a hearing, much less a full debate on the Senate floor. Hatch is the only real estate developer in the Democrat caucus, yet his party’s leaders let him kill the bill—a crystal clear conflict of interest.

Sen. Jake Chapman, R-Adel, served on the Economic Growth/Rebuild Iowa subcommittee with Hatch.

“I wanted this bill to at least get a hearing so Iowans could debate the appropriate level of tax credits that benefit real estate developers,” Chapman said. “Nonetheless, with real estate mogul Jack Hatch chairing the subcommittee, legislators and informed constituents found out quickly that the bill was DOA.”

Hatch has pocked just under $7.3 million in developer fees for his company’s projects. If that bill—which Hatch stashed away in a drawer—had been in effect, he could have missed out on about $2 million in taxpayer money.

Jan. 30, 2013
State Sen. Brad Zaun, R-Urbandale introduced S.F. 95, and Senate Democrats referred the bill to the Economic Growth/Rebuild Iowa committeeS.J. 158.

Jan. 31
The full committee, chaired by state Sen. Steve Sodders, D-State Center, assigned the bill to a subcommittee chaired by Sen. Hatch. The committee also included Hatch took no further action on the bill. S.J. 180.