Fact Checker

Fact Checker: Fred Hubbell on tax credits

Democratic candidate for governor Fred Hubbell participates in a Nov. 14 discussion in Iowa City. (Cliff Jette/The Gazette)
Democratic candidate for governor Fred Hubbell participates in a Nov. 14 discussion in Iowa City. (Cliff Jette/The Gazette)


“Iowa is offering Apple $20 million in tax credits.”

“I came in and helped clean up the film tax credit scandal.”

Source of claims: “Show,” a television ad now airing from Democrat Fred Hubbell’s campaign for Iowa governor.


The ad put out by Hubbell’s campaign focuses on criticism of Iowa’s tax incentives for Apple to build a data center in Waukee. The board of the Iowa Economic Development Authority in August approved a nearly $20 million incentive package for Apple, with Apple promising to create 50 jobs. Apple also pledged $100 million in community investment in Waukee, including a new youth sports complex.

Hubbell is among several Democrats who criticized the deal for being too lucrative to Apple and not offering enough value to Iowa, and blame GOP Gov. Kim Reynolds for supporting it. .

“This governor is taking money we don’t have and giving it to one of the world’s richest companies that doesn’t need it,” Hubbell’s ad says.

In total, Apple is getting more than $200 million in financial incentives for its data center. In addition to the state’s nearly $20 million in tax credits, the city of Waukee has offered the rest.

In the ad, Hubbell likens the incentives to those of the state program that offered tax credits to the film industry beginning in 2007. Only two years later, in 2009, a state audit found that $26 million worth of credits had been improperly issued. The state suspended the program.

Iowa’s Department of Economic Development leader resigned, and then-Gov. Chet Culver turned to Hubbell to serve as interim director.


Hubbell served as interim for just three months before a permanent director was named. The film credit program was suspended before Hubbell stepped in and briefly resumed after he left. But while he was on the job there, he did oversee transferring funds for film tax credits to other programs.


Offering future tax breaks to companies for adding jobs or facilities is a common tool of economic development. Whether Iowa conceded too much to Apple is a matter of opinion.

But the data Hubbell cites in his ad is accurate. And while his role in the aftermath of the film tax credit scandal was brief, he did help.

Those two claims in the ad get an ‘A’.


The Fact Checker team checks statements made by an Iowa political candidate/ officeholder or a national candidate/officeholder about Iowa, or in advertisements that appear in our market.

Claims must be independently verifiable. We give statements grades from A to F based on accuracy and context.

If you spot a claim you think needs checking, email us at factchecker@thegazette. com.

l This Fact Checker was researched and written by KCRG-TV9’s Josh Scheinblum.



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