Uncertainty still reigns at the statehouse as political leaders of both parties squabble over the best way to restart the state’s new economic development program. Democrat Governor Tom Vilsack’s back from a week’s vacation, and reviewed the proposals Republican legislators submitted last week. Late this morning, Vilsack offered another alternative. Vilsack rejects Senate Republicans’ call for 108 million dollars in senior citizen tax cuts but accepts the proposal advanced by House Republicans to provide a tax break to businesses making equipment purchases. Vilsack, though, refuses some of the regulatory reforms Republicans want, including a limit on the damages Iowans can win in lawsuits against manufacturers. Vilsack accuses the Republicans of pursuing a “national agenda” on tort reform.Vilsack says there’s no evidence of out-of-control punitive damage awards in Iowa. Vilsack describes his proposal as a “last opportunity” for agreement that could lead to a special legislative session. Vilsack says he’s “going the extra mile” because the Values Fund has worked and it’s time to settle the uncertainty created by last month’s Supreme Court ruling. Vilsack says now it’s time for Republican lawmakers to “be reasonable” and accept his plan. Meanwhile, Republican legislators aren’t thrilled with Vilsack’s latest offer but say they’re considering it.
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