A bipartisan melt-down at the statehouse over a plan to cut costs in the state Medicaid program could spell trouble for plans to revamp the state’s tax system and create a two-billion dollar economic development fund. What had been billed Wednesday morning as a bipartisan agreement to make cuts in Medicaid turned into a partisan showdown Wednesday night as Democrats in the House refused to back the plan, objecting to things like cutting payments to pharmacists. If Republicans try to keep important plans secret ’til the last minute, Senate Democrat Leader Mike Gronstal of Council Bluffs says there’ll be “rough sledding” ahead for the economic development fund and tax reform if the same secretive process is used. House Speaker Christopher Rants, a Republican from Sioux City, says cooperation between the political parties was not damaged by last night’s events.Rants says there was neither a debacle nor a melt-down of bipartisanship. Rants says the secrecy will soon end and details of their tax reform and economic development plans will be publicly revealed. Rants says “it’s a matter of timing.” House Democratic Leader Dick Myers of Iowa City says the key issues need bipartisan solutions. Myers says he still believes very strongly in working together, yet he still reserves the right to disagree. Republicans in the House intend to unveil their tax reform ideas later this afternoon.
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