The top republican in the Iowa House says the state’s race tracks have offered an “unacceptable” deal to end the standoff over state taxes on the tracks. The tracks in Altoona, Council Bluffs and Dubuque sued the state and the Iowa Supreme Court ruled the tracks shouldn’t be taxed at a higher rate than the riverboats. The case is now before the U.S. Supreme Court, and House Speaker Christopher Rants, a republican from Sioux City, says the state should take its chances in court rather than take the deal the tracks laid out this past week. Rants says the deal was “interestingly odd group of things” including a request that legislators agree never to let the riverboat casinos expand while letting the tracks add table games to their slot machine casinos. But House Republican Leader Chuck Gipp of Decorah — the number two Republican in the House — is offering a more urgent message. He says the gambling issue must be resolved soon. Gipp says legislators need to know whether the state will be paying the tracks back-taxes or whether the tracks will be paying the state. State gambling taxes are using to finance a variety of programs, and the Iowa Supreme Court ruling cut the available pot of money by 38-million dollars, and Gipp says that means some state initiatives, like water quality programs, will have to be shut down. Gipp made his comments on Iowa Public Television.
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