Steve Jobs was no conservative, but Thomas G. Donlan‘s latest Barron’s column notes that the genius behind Apple understood the impact of high tax rates on his efforts to create “insanely great” products.

Donlan describes Apple’s efforts to save shareholders and customers “billions of dollars” in taxes by creating subsidiaries in Luxembourg and Ireland. The article also notes Apple’s efforts to bypass California’s corporate income tax by moving some operations to corporate-tax-free Reno, Nev.

Then there’s this anecdote.

Steve Jobs himself outlined his idea of the company’s proper tax relationship with its hometown government in Cupertino, Calif. Last year, while making a pitch for municipal permits for the company’s futuristic new headquarters, Jobs encountered a dissatisfied council member. What’s in it for the residents? she asked, suggesting that Apple could provide free wireless Internet service to the town.

This kind of free-lance extortion is far less serious than the kind that companies encounter in parts of New Jersey, but Jobs was annoyed anyway. He replied:

“I’ve always had this view that we pay taxes and the city should do those things.” He added, “If we get out of paying taxes, I’ll be glad to put up Wi-Fi.” And he offered to move the headquarters and the $8 million a year it pays in property taxes.