(It is important to note here that the following story has been likely repeated dozens of times in Iowa and thousands of times across the USA. I do not know the politics of Mr. Bruntz or the other people at Springboard Engineering. This is not personal. It is about equity and economic good sense.)
Three years ago this week, a former Maytag design engineer, Jordan Bruntz, started a testing, research and development company in Newton, Iowa, called Springboard Engineering (SE). It was a great idea to keep some high-end jobs and some families in Newton. At the time, we needed jobs, with Maytag packing up and moving out of town. The problem is Springboard decided it should use other people’s money to fund its idea.
Taxpayers at the time forked over a lot of money before SE even got its footing. $400,000 came from Iowa taxpayers alone, who were promised 61 jobs. It is not clear which program Governor Chet Culver used to fund this “private” company, but at the time it was said to come “from a grant program and a jobs creation program”, but also apparently included “zero-interest loans”. In addition, they got tax rebates and incentives worth at least $150,000 in from the city of Newton (which I am all for, if every company gets the same break).
So how many of the 61 jobs were created? The company now employs 40 people. So even if the taxpayers are helping pay for all 40 jobs, where are the other twenty-one jobs we were promised? No one dare try to blame the economy: This is money they got specifically for jobs.
None of this is really job creation anyway. As Rush Limbaugh points out, this is just make-work or workfare for the well-heeled and well-connected. They are not worthwhile jobs the market is clamoring for. If they were, they would not need subsidized by you and me.
So how was SE held accountable for its unkept promises from October, 2007? You guessed it. They were given another $150,000 from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (in other words, stimulus funds). This was to be for two of Barack Obama’s new green jobs. Except, in this case the money was spent and the project was completed in 8 months. So, these two employees got paid a year’s salary for 8 month’s work at the rate of $110,000 a year. I guess Democrats are serious when they say they will create high-paying “green” jobs.
Why does a company with $5 million a year in revenue need your money? (Author shrugs.) Don’t get me wrong, however. I could care less how much the company makes, and how much it pays its CEO’s and engineers. As any good tea party member might ask it, please stop milking the taxpayers. This election season, it’s not guns vs butter as Arianna Huffington claims, it may be tea vs milk.
 Examples abound. A start-up pizza businessman received all kinds of tax breaks or preferential treatment, while its competitor, the owner of a pizza franchise and civic-minded businessman who has supported his town for decades, is treated like dirt. This can happen to the owner of a pizza franchise or a local video store and happens to thousands like them all over the country.
David is currently an adjunct instructor of Composition and Speech at Marshalltown Community College in Iowa. His wife and he have also owned a business selling antique and collectible postcards on eBay since 1999. David was an activist with Operation Rescue in the early 1990s. He is a member of Trinity Presbyterian Reformed Church in Johnston, Iowa.
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