The wind-down of the 2003 Iowa Legislative session appears headed to stalemate and inaction on key “economic growth” issues, with a special session later to resolve matters. Republicans in the House and Senate offered new wrinkles in plans to reform Iowa’s income tax system yesterday. In addition, Senate Republicans like Senate Majority Leader Stewart Iverson of Dows remain opposed to creation of a huge new state economic development fund. Iverson says he’ll admit it’s something the Governor really wants, but he says there’s no way the state can buy its way to prosperity and too many Iowans are concerned about having the state borrow 800-MILLION dollars and take 20 years to pay it back. Senate President Mary Kramer, a republican from Clive, says reforming the income tax should be the legislature’s top priority. Kramer says the state’s current income tax is the biggest barrier to economic growth in Iowa. House Speaker Christopher Rants, a republican from Sioux City, says he doesn’t want to walk away without resolving the key issues, and there’s no need to start thinking about a special session later this summer to address tax reform.Rants says he doesn’t know why lawmakers would adjourn early without doing what they’ve promised taxpayers they’d do. He says there’s no reason compromises can’t be found. Rants said last week that he was “popping Rolaids like Pez” and he expects more stress ahead.. Rants says he “has a brand new roll of Rolaids for the week.” Some Republicans in the Senate would reduce Iowa’s income tax system to three rates, and give Iowans a 310-million dollar break on their income taxes. To make up the difference, they’d raise the sales tax a penny. But Iverson doesn’t have enough Republican votes to pass that plan through the Senate, and Iverson says he needs Democrats to help. On the House side, Rants suggests having the people of Iowa vote on an income tax reform plan that would include new restrictions to make it more difficult for legislators to vote to raise taxes in the future.
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