DED director abruptly resigns; governor freezes film tax credits

Breaking news, released just before five o’clock on a Friday: Iowa Department of Economic Development director Mike Tramontina has resigned (seems as if he was asked to do so) and the governor has written the head of the Iowa Economic Development Board a letter, freezing the film tax credits available for movie-makers making their movies in Iowa.

Read the release below:


DES MOINES – The Director of the Iowa Department of Economic Development, Mike Tramontina, has tendered his resignation, effective immediately, to Governor Chet Culver.

The Governor has accepted Tramontina’s resignation.

The Department of Economic Development will report to Richard Oshlo, the interim director of the Department of Management, while new leadership at IDED is being considered.

NOTE: The following letter was sent from Governor Culver to Robert Boeken, chair of the Iowa Economic Development Board, this afternoon:

September 18, 2009

Mr. Robert Bocken
2904 15th Ave NE
Fort Dodge, IA 50501

Re: Film, Television and Video Promotion Program

Dear Mr. Bocken:

While there have been many reported benefits resulting from the Iowa Department of Economic Development’s implementation of the film, television and video project promotion program established under Iowa Code section 15.393, I am also very troubled by information very recently received by our office that there have been insufficient procedures in place to assure a full and accurate accounting of expenditures made to enable persons to qualify for tax credits under the program.

Therefore, until all reasonable questions about the administration of this program are answered, I ask that no further schedules of qualified expenditures be approved nor any further tax credit certificates be issued.

I am confident that our office, in working with your Board and others asked by us to review these matters, can resolve pending issues efficiently and effectively, allowing us to move forward with this important program in a manner that is both consistent with the intent of this legislation and that protects the interests of Iowa taxpayers.


Chester J. Culver
Governor of Iowa

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O. Kay Henderson is the news director of Radio Iowa.