Iowa Offers Tax Breaks to “Web Search Portal Businesses”

By Eric Goldman

Iowa, showing its technological savvy, has passed a law providing some tax abatements for “web search portal businesses” that invest $200M in the state in 6 years. See HF 2233, enacted Feb. 28, 2008. Most industry participants would not use the term “web search portal business,” but the statute provides a useful definition as an “entity whose business among other businesses is to provide a search portal to organize information; to access, search, and navigate the internet, including research and development to support capabilities to organize information; or to provide internet access, navigation, or search functionalities.” Well, that helps narrow down the universe of qualifying companies.

Given the size of investment required, I’ll give you three guesses who the Iowa legislature might have been thinking of. Give up? Check out this handy list of lobbyists for the bill and see if you spot any familiar names.

As the fiscal note indicates, they anticipate a whopping TWO buildings to be built pursuant to this abatement. Not that this is special interest legislation or anything… On that note, one of the Iowa senators blogs on the law. Why is he winking at me?