Hopes for tax reform this year appear to be going down the drain at the statehouse, and the top Republican in the Iowa Senate says he’s ready to “pull the plug” on other key agenda items. Senator Larry McKibben, a republican from Marshalltown, tried to pass a bill that’d simplify the state income tax to a single, flat rate, but he couldn’t get enough Republicans or any Democrats to agree to pass the bill out of the Senate’s tax-writing committee. McKibben says it’s “extremely frustrating” to see he may not be able to accomplish his goal after agreeing last December that something needed to be done. McKibben says there was a window of opportunity this year for bipartisan accomplishments like income tax reform, but it’s apparently not going to happen. Senate Democrat Leader Mike Gronstal of Council Bluffs says Democrats are holding out for a better bill. Gronstal says Democrats won’t support a bill that taxes poor and working Iowans more so taxes for wealthy Iowans can be reduced. Senate Republican Leader Stewart Iverson of Dows says when it comes to the “heavy-lifting” the requires bipartisan cooperation, Democrats can’t be counted on..Iverson says he’s just about ready to “pull the plug on stuff” — including the creation of a huge new economic development fund and any tax changes. Iverson says things may turn around in the next 24 hours, but he’s not expecting it. Senate President Mary Kramer, a republican from Clive, says she’s discouraged by a lack of cooperation from Democrat Governor Tom Vilsack. Kramer says there’s been “less than a real interest” from Vilsack in working on things that are of interest to Republicans. But House Speaker Christopher Rants of Sioux City, the top republican in the House, isn’t ready to throw in the towel. Rants says “time is critical” but there’s work left to do.’ In a prepared statement, Governor Vilsack says it would be premature for legislators to adjourn for the year because there’s still work to do. A memo from an assistant Attorney General raised constitutional concerns about the property tax reform plan members of the House have crafted, but House Leaders say they still plan to debate the bill today.
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