Democrats say Republicans are offering an “election year gimmick” by proposing elimination of the state sales tax charged on natural gas, heating oil and electricity used to heat homes. Joe Shannahan, a spokesman for democrat Governor Tom Vilsack, says Republicans can’t reduce state taxes by 90-million and keep another promise to raise teacher salaries. Shannahan says the Republicans will also be forced to reduce health care for kids.He says their numbers are “fuzzy” and “not doable.”The state tax on gasoline is a per gallon charge, but the state tax on natural gas, electricity and fuel oil is on the purchase price, just like a clothing purchase. House Republican Leader Christopher Rants of Sioux City says it hurts Iowans when energy prices are rising. He says they’re more concerned about family budgets than they are the state budget.House Speaker Brent Siegrist, a republican from Council Bluffs, says because of higher costs, Iowans will pay an extra six- to seven million dollars in sales taxes this winter on their heating oil, electricity and natural gas. He says it’s the right thing to do to not tax Iowans more for the same services.Today, if your utility bill is one hundred dollars, you are charged an additional five dollars in state sales taxes. House Republican leaders are advancing this latest tax cut idea, but no SENATE leaders have endorsed it, which means there’s no guarantee the legislature will ever pass the utility tax cut.
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