Governor Tom Vilsack says legislators shouldn’t succumb to special interest groups that’re trying to derail tax reform and creation of a huge new state economic development fund. Vilsack says Iowans expect state policymakers to be bold. Yesterday, the top Republican in the Senate said he was willing to abandon the idea of the economic development fund and tax reform if there’s no regulatory reform, too. Vilsack’s not satisfied with that scenario. Vilsack says “small thinking” has prevented the state from utilizing its full potential. Vilsack says he wouldn’t be satisfied with that scenario.Vilsack says the Legislature should not adjourn until its taken steps to transform the state’s economy. But Vilsack holds out the option of bringing lawmakers back in special session later this summer if they don’t pass bills that change the tax system and create a nearly one billion dollar economic development fund. The Legislature’s top republican leader says Vilsack can be the catalyst to get deals struck, particularly on the idea of a nearly billion dollar state economic development fund that would be financed with a cigarette tax increase or by collecting sales taxes on Internet sales. A major rift remains between G-O-P legislators and the Democrat Governor over a “regulatory reform” bill key Republicans insist must become law before they’ll consider any tax reform. Vilsack says he’s for the right kind of regulatory reform.Vilsack says there could potentially be common ground in some areas, but he’s not going to approve of things like reducing the number of weeks Iowans may automatically get unemployment if they’re laid off because of a plant closing. Vilsack says he’s not been convinced what Republicans are seeking will yield a single new job. Vilsack made his comments during taping of the program “Iowa Press” which airs tonight on Iowa Public Television.
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