The Iowa Legislature reconvenes today at 10 o’clock for a “special” session to deal with a series of issues tied to economic growth. After nearly a month of behind-the-scenes talks, Senate Republicans met face-to-face at the capitol last night for four hours straight, and emerged with a new plan for raising the money to bankroll a new state economic development fund. Senate Republican Leader Stewart Iverson of Dows wouldn’t share the details of the plan with reporters, but he did confirm that Senators will no longer pursue the idea of doubling the state tax on cigarettes. Instead, they’ll jump start the fund by using 100-million dollars in federal funds headed Iowa’s way — the state’s share of the national economic stimulus package. He says they have looked at other alternatives and have come up with other plans that a majority of the members can support.Figures are still being sorted out but indications are — the economic development fund could total 500 to 700-million dollars. Senate President Mary Kramer, a republican from Clive, admits this latest idea for the so-called “Iowa Values” fund hasn’t been on the table long. Kramer says it’s a “fair departure” from what Senators were considering even yesterday afternoon. She says the changes came because some Senators brought “better ideas.” Late last night, leaders in the House were still reviewing the Senate proposal and the Legislature’s legal experts were drafting bills that may be considered today by lawmakers.
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