A small group of state legislators is trying to put the finishing touches on a compromises that would yield a state-level economic stimulus package worth about half a billion dollars and the largest income tax cut in state history. House Speaker Christopher Rants, a Republican from Sioux City, says debate is scheduled to resume in the House on Tuesday. Rants says “we’re very close and we’re going to keep plugging away” until the job’s done. The Senate is scheduled to return in “special” session on Wednesday. Senate Republican Leader Stewart Iverson of Dows says the it’s not unusual to take a long time to iron out the details when so much is at stake.Iverson says Republicans in the House and Senate are “pretty close on a lot of things” and he’s optimistic the end is in sight. The ideas for tax reform and a new state economic development fund were first discussed four months ago, but lawmakers adjourned their regular session on April 30th without final action on either front. The House passed an 800-million dollar “Iowa Values” fund and a 300-million dollar income tax cut with a dramatic simplification, but the Senate never took action. Last week, the Senate passed bills that addressed those issues as well as property tax reform and regulatory changes that had also cleared the House earlier. Late Thursday night, Governor Tom Vilsack expressed his frustration with the legislature’s pace. Vilsack says the ideas have been discussed for weeks and months, yet no final action’s been taken. As we reported last week, the Governor said the Energizer bunny would run out of battery-power waiting for Iowa Legislators to make a decision.
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