I9 FACT CHECK: Fred Hubbell attacks Governor Reynolds, says he helped clean up film scandal

Published: Dec. 8, 2017 at 3:37 PM CST
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A new ad from democratic candidate for governor, Fred Hubbell, is attacking republican Governor Kim Reynolds for supporting a project that gives Apple tax credits for building a data center in Iowa. I9 dug into the claims and the KCRG-TV9/Gazette Fact Check team graded the ad.


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

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

“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”


“Show” television ad now airing from Fred Hubbell campaign.


The ad put out by Fred Hubbell’s campaign focuses on criticism of Iowa’s tax incentives for Apple to build a data center in Waukee. The Iowa Department of Economic Development approved a $20 million incentive package to Apple in August 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 that criticized the deal for being too lucrative to Apple for not enough value to Iowa.

In the ad, Hubbell likens the incentives to the scandal ridden film tax credits, claiming he “came in and helped clean up the film tax credit scandal.” In 2009, the state ended the program after a state audit uncovered $26-million had been improperly issued by the state Economic Development Department.

Hubbell served as interim director of the Iowa Department of Economic Development but for just three months after the previous director resigned because of the scandal. The program was suspended before Hubbell stepped in and briefly resumed after he left but while he was there, Hubbell did oversee transferring funds for film tax credits to other programs.

The ad also accuses Governor Kim Reynolds of taking money Iowa doesn’t have and giving it to Apple. Hubbell is alluding to the ongoing budget cuts due to lower tax revenue. In total, Apple is getting more than $200 million in financial incentives for its data center. The state’s share of that is only about $20 million in tax credits. The rest is tax abatement from the city of Waukee – not the state.


Offering tax breaks to companies for developments is a common tool of economic development. Whether Iowa gave away too much to Apple is a matter of opinion. But the data Hubbell cites for his ad is accurate. And while Hubbell’s role in the aftermath of the film tax credit scandal was brief and limited, he did help. This ad gets an ‘A’.

Apple deal -

Hubbell appointed -

Film tax credit audit -

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