Iowa Legislators wrapped up their work on redistricting, a utility bill and a tax bill in a one-day special session. The special session will be remembered for ushering in new maps for Iowa’s Congressional and legislative districts, but also for a bill that makes it easier for utilities to build power plants in Iowa, but not as easy as Republicans had hoped. Democrat Governor Tom Vilsack threatened to veto the bill if went as far the G-O-P wanted. Republicans backed down to get half-a-loaf rather than nothing at all. Senator Joann Johnson, a Republican from Adel says they’re starting down the road to ensure that Iowans have a sufficient source of energy for years to come.Senator John Jensen, a republican from Plainfield says the bill will ensure that new generating plants can be built..Representative Ed Fallon, a democrat from Des Moines, was the only member of the legislature to vote against the bill. Fallon said there was no sense making such drastic concessions to utilities so quickly. Fallon says he’s not convinced that there’s a looming energy crisis.The Legislature also passed a bill ensuring tax collectors won’t skim state income taxes off your federal tax rebate — a savings of about 22-million for Iowans. All in all, Republican House Speaker Brent Siegrist of Council Bluffs was pleased. He says the legislature passed some “extremely meaningful legislation.”Legislators also extended a business tax, ensuring 56 Workforce Development offices around the state will remain open. Some Republicans, though, were reluctant to do it. Senate Republican Leader Stewart Iverson of Dows says lawmakers expect some streamlining in the agency.The bill passed cuts the per-employee tax businesses pay, and for the first time sets very specific guidelines for what the money may be used for. The agency’s also allowed to charge fees for some of its services. No matter what, Senator David Miller, a republican from Libertyville, didn’t like it. He says it proves how difficult it is to get rid of a tax.But others like Representative Bill Dotzler, a democrat from Waterloo, celebrated the compromise which will keep the Workforce Development offices open, for at least two more years.
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