Republican legislators say one of their goals this week is to pass a tax break for the state’s insurance industry. Other states have changed their tax laws, so Iowa-based insurance companies must pay more in taxes because of the way Iowa’s own premium tax is structured. Lawmakers hope to change that, giving the insurance industry a 98-million dollar tax break. Democrat Governor Tom Vilsack says some other benefit for the state should be tied to that tax break, like having the legislature force insurance companies to provide coverage for mental health treatment. Vilsack asks what the state will receive from the insurance industry for the tax break. But Senate President Mary Kramer, a republican from West Des Moines who is a retired insurance industry executive, says the tax break will help keep insurance jobs in Iowa. Kramer says there is a return on the “investment” of the tax break, as the insurance companies won’t choose to move their home offices to a more premium-tax-friendly state. The Senate endorsed the tax break a few weeks ago, and the House is expected to follow suit Wednesday.
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