The Legislature’s top negotiator says the state’s race tracks have ’til five o’clock Monday night to accept a deal that’ll end a stalemate over state taxes for the tracks. Senate Republican Leader Stewart Iverson of Dows says lawmakers have made their offer to get the matter settled out of court. He says they’ve spent an enormous amount of time trying to reach an agreement. The tracks are hoping to win a court case so they can get a lower tax rate on their profits. House Speaker Christopher Rants, a republican from Sioux City, warns the tracks will face a public relations disaster if they don’t settle out-of-court, because state environmental programs will be shut down next week due of the stalemate over gambling taxes.He says the blame lies squarely on the shoulders of the tracks who’ve refused to come to an agreement. House Republican Leader Chuck Gipp of Decorah is issuing a warning to gambling lobbyists who’re hoping to get their way by forcing legislators to engage in a wide-ranging gambling debate. He says the gambling industry better be prepared to fight off amendments that’re unfriendly to their industry if a new gambling bill comes to the floor for debate.Senate Democrat Leader Mike Gronstal of Council Bluffs says negotiations with the tracks in Altoona, Council Bluffs and Dubuque have been “tedious.”Gronstal says it’s a complicated area, so the opportunity for compromise changes at every turn. Gronstal says he’s had “exceedingly pointed discussions” with the track managers about the chaos their stubbornness will create in state government. Some state workers will have to be laid off next week if the issue’s not resolved, as those workers’ salaries are paid by state gambling taxes.
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