There are now three different plans on the table as statehouse policymakers try to revive the state’s premiere economic development program.Democrat Governor Tom Vilsack made an offer last week to try to resolve the stalemate created when the Iowa Supreme Court ruled he’d overstepped his item veto authority on an economic growth package, a ruling that nullified the entire package, including the new Iowa Values Fund. Now, Republicans in the Iowa House have offered what they characterize as an olive branch, giving up on the 300 million dollars in income tax cuts included in that package. House Speaker Christopher Rants, a republican from Sioux City, says the 54 republicans in the House are “going more than halfway to try to resolve this impasse with Governor Vilsack and get the Values Fund and economic development efforts moving again in Iowa.” Rants says it’s a “big thing” that Republicans are giving up on income tax cuts, but he says Vilsack will “never, ever, ever, ever” approve income tax cuts, so the G-O-P will put ’em on the shelf and wait ’til there’s another governor. Rants says in return, Republican lawmakers will insist that Vilsack accept some of the business regulation reforms they sought. Rants says it’s important to put the “open for business sign above the state again, but it’s going to involve compromise on the part of republicans and the governor.” Rants held a news conference this morning in front of the empty Sosink Building in Sioux City to illustrate that the state can’t put it’s main economic development program on hold for the next six months. Rants says Republicans in the House “are willing to move halfway” and are “just asking the governor to meet (them) there.” Republicans in the Iowa Senate, meanwhile, are making another proposal. Senate Republicans are also giving up on an across-the-board income tax cut, but Republicans in the Senate want Vilsack to accept a phase-out of the state taxes the elderly pay on their Social Security income. Over five-years, it would save senior citizens in Iowa about 108 million dollars. The average Social Security recipient in Iowa pays about 400 dollars a year in state taxes on that income.
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