Ten Republican Senators today unveiled a 160-million dollar, pay-as-you-go proposal for boosting the state’s economy. This latest idea is in contrast to the nearly billion dollar economic development fund favored by the top Republican in the House, a proposal financed by a statewide property tax. Senator Kitty Rehberg, a republican from Rowley, says Iowans don’t want lawmakers to borrow big bucks for a billion dollar fund. Rehberg says “back home, in our town forums and our coffee shops, we listened to our constituents who had grave concerns” about putting the state in debt. Senator James Seymour, a republican from Woodbine, says voters in his conservative district didn’t send him to Des Moines to raise their taxes. This newest plan would take away the tax break Iowans should be getting on their utility bills and keep in place the sales tax on electricity and gas. Senator Bob Brunkhorst, a republican from Waverly, says that’s a better approach. Brunkhorst says rather than raising taxes, it just freezes a tax that was to have been reduced. Senator Mark Zieman, a republican from Postville, doesn’t like targeting certain industries, like the life sciences, which is the centerpiece of the other economic development plans floating around the statehouse. Zieman says he’s been concerned about mortgaging his children’s future on technologies of today that may be obsolete in two or three years. Part of this latest plan calls for providing 100-million dollars of state money to help guarantee bank loans to entrepreneurs. It also calls for a more coordinated state marketing effort and the appointment of “technology advisors” to help start commercial businesses for Iowa and Iowa State researchers who’re developing patents.
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