Apple’s recent announcement that it will invest $1.3 billion in Iowa for a new data center that has been touted by Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds has me concerned, but not for economic reasons. There is no denying that the tech giant’s presence in Iowa is an economic boon for the state, and, in particular, the city of Waukee. Apple has already announced it will invest $100 million into a new youth sports complex in Waukee.
I’m not thrilled that it took $208 million in tax incentives to bring Apple to Iowa, but I can’t fault Governor Reynolds for that. She was using the only tools in her tool box. The state of Iowa desperately needs tax reform to help make our state more competitive without having to pick winners and losers. Iowa consistently ranks toward the bottom nationally regarding business tax climate only ranking ahead of Minnesota in the Midwest.
That isn’t my immediate concern, however, and the $208 million is a drop in the bucket compared to the dollars Apple will bring into the state.
Apple’s investment, however, has me concerned because of the impact they could have on policy.
Post-Charlottesville Apple announced it would donate $2 million dollars to the Southern Poverty Law Center and Anti-Defamation League. On top of that, Apple will also let consumers donate directly to Southern Poverty Law Center through iTunes.
As a Christian, I find this extremely troubling as Southern Poverty Law Center has listed numerous evangelical groups alongside neo-Nazis and White Supremacists on their hate group list because of their opposition to same-sex marriage and other LGBT agenda items.
So I don’t think it is unreasonable for Christians to be concerned how Apple, as well as, the rest of Big Business may respond to any moves to protect religious liberty in the state of Iowa. All one has to do is look at the corporate response to Indiana’s and Georgia’s attempts to offer religious conscience protections for business owners, as well as, the response from Big Business to North Carolina’s attempt to protect privacy in restrooms. Apple was in the thick of that opposition.
These initiatives were deemed “discriminatory” by the left, and Big Business followed suit.
Because of this history, it is troubling that Governor Reynolds felt it necessary to speak out against President Trump’s reversal of Obama’s order allowing openly transgender people in the U.S. military.
The Associated Press reported:
Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds says she disagrees with President Donald Trump’s ban on transgender individuals joining the military.
The Republican governor told reporters Monday that anyone who signs up for military service deserves appreciation and respect. Her office later said Reynolds doesn’t plan to take any action in response.
(Update: AP did not report Governor Reynolds’ full comments. She also said did not believe taxpayers should have to pay for transgender therapy.)
While I too appreciate anyone who desires to serve in the military this policy is simply common sense and opposition to it ignore that the military by nature is discriminatory over who can serve. No one has a right to serve in the military.
Reynolds has not been vocal on LGBTQ issues before, and I can’t help but wonder if this comment was made with Apple in mind (Update: I was told by a source within the Reynolds Administration that this was not the case). The tech giant probably would not have invested in Iowa if we had a religious freedom restoration act, or something like it, in place. It is almost guaranteed they will fight any attempt to pass legislation like that here.
What is the future of any effort to address religious liberty concerns? Will Reynolds go the way of Chamber Republicans who run after corporations like Apple, but ignore the plight of Christian business owners like Dick and Betty Odgaard who had to close their business after a complaint to the Iowa Civil Rights Commission since they could no longer run their wedding business with a clear conscience?
I sincerely hope not, I like Governor Reynolds, but after this week I have my doubts.