And that, he says, is one thing that sets him apart among those vying for the Iowa governor's seat in 2010.
The Sioux City Republican spent more than an hour Tuesday pitching his ideas to people at the Blue Bunny Ice Cream Parlor in Le Mars.
"I'm running for governor because frankly I think Iowa is like a truck stuck in the ditch," he told the dozen people gathered. "We need to pull it out and head in a new direction."
Once a businessman with Metz Baking in Sioux City, Rants said Iowa should seek to be in the top 10 states in the nation to do business in.
Iowa, he said, has been ranked 49th.
"We can't be in the top 10 if we're also in the top 10 for property taxes," he added. "When it comes to what commercial entities pay for property tax, we're third."
Bringing new businesses in, he said, depends on the message you send.
"We've got to do unique things, probably risky things, to grow small businesses from within," Rants said.
In schools, he said, we need to change the curriculum so we're not just training employees, we're training entrepreneurs.
Some states, he said, offer tax breaks for new businesses. In Michigan new businesses are tax-free for the first five years.
Finally, he said, Iowa has to be out selling what the state has to offer.
Rants predicted money would start coming into Iowa as the economy strengthens.
He suggested putting some toward school districts to decrease the local tax burden.
Rants also suggested creating a fund to help counties, cities and school districts cut out layers of bureaucracy.
Plymouth County Supervisor Craig Anderson asked Rants about his plans for replenishing the depleted Iowa road fund.
Rants said he'd support researching ways to tax people on miles traveled, rather than a flat tax Iowans pay for vehicle registration.
"Not a gas tax," he said. "The future for automotives is alternative fuels, so it would be foolish to say just gasoline. ... It's a bigger conversation than that."
Anderson replied, "We can't wait too long to have that conversation."
Also in the audience was Kelly Ryan, in town from Des Moines to visit her parents.
"I'm a Republican, and I'll have the opportunity to vote on this, so I just wanted to hear what he had to say," she said.
Kelly liked Rants' answer as to what set him apart from the rest of the widening pool of Republicans eyeing the governor's seat.
"He has background in both business and the government," she said. "And he said he's planted in both the socially conservative and fiscally conservative camps."
Jack Guenthner, of Le Mars, also came to hear Rants' position.
"The biggest question for me is, with the population base generally located in eastern Iowa, how is anybody going to convince them to vote for a Republican from western Iowa?" he said.
Rants, raised in Sioux City, was elected to the Iowa House in 1992 at the age of 25. He served as speaker of the house from 2002-2007.
Ralph Klemme, of Le Mars, is heading up Rants' campaign in Plymouth County.
"We worked together," said Klemme, a former member of the Iowa House of Representatives. "He's even called me dad a few times. I believe he would do a fantastic job."