The “regular” session of the 2003 Iowa Legislature is history, but the Governor wants to call lawmakers back to Des Moines next week for a “special” session to pass his number one project. Governor Vilsack has suggested lawmakers convene in “special” session on May 10th to endorse creation of a new 810 million dollar state economic development fund. The Iowa House has already voted for it, but the Senate adjourned last night without taking action and Senate Democrat Leader Michael Gronstal of Council Bluffs says it was a mistake to walk away. He says it’ll be incredibly difficult to accomplish anything in a special session unless Republicans get their act together. Gronstal says most Iowans would give lawmakers an “F” or “incomplete” grade. Senate Republican Leader Stewart Iverson of Dows rejects that.Iverson says Republicans “moved the ball down the court on many issues, much farther” than he thought possible. Iverson says Senators are continuing to work on the things that remain undone. Senate President Mary Kramer, a republican from Clive, says the dynamics among the group of Republican Senators call for a break of at least a few weeks, if not a month. And she rejects the Governor’s contention that the state needs to act quickly on the economic development initiative to retain a competitive edge. Kramer says the state of Iowa hasn’t been competitive for “a lot of years,” so a few weeks won’t make that much difference. Larry McKibben, chairman of the Senate’s tax-writing committee, says progress was made even though tax reform didn’t get through the Senate. McKibben says lawmakers move the ball a long ways down the field, and income tax and property tax reform will likely pass during a special session this year or in the 2004. House Speaker Christopher Rants, a Republican from Sioux City, says the House passed a “very ambitious agenda” that included tax reform and a new economic stimulus package.Rants says the House did ihe’s proud of the “very embitious agenda” that passed the House, including tax reform, an economic stimulus package, and regulatory reform. One of the last actions in the House was passage of a bill that simplifies income taxes, yielding a 685 million dollar tax cut for Iowans. Representative Don Shoultz, a Democrat from Waterloo, was a “no” vote, saying it’s not been proven the bill will stimulate the economy.The bill failed by one vote on Wednesday night but passed yesterday. Representative Jamie Van Fossen, a Republican from Davenport, is chairman of the House tax-writing committee.Van Fossen says “24 hours is a lifetime in politics.” The Senate adjourned last night shortly before seven. The House adjourned shortly after 10 p.m.
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