The Iowa Legislature’s top Republican says it’s all or nothing this week as lawmakers try to put the finishing touches on an economic stimulus package. A few Republicans from the Iowa House and Senate are trying to find a compromise on the package that includes income tax cuts, property tax reform, regulatory changes and creation of a new, 500-million dollars state economic development fund. The House is scheduled to go into session at 5 p.m. on Tuesday to consider whatever deal’s reached. The Senate would meet on Wednesday to ratify it. Democrat Governor Tom Vilsack has expressed concerns with some of the details, but House Speaker Christopher Rants, a Republican from Sioux City, says there’s got to be give and take, since Republicans are accepting some things they don’t like, either. Rants says everyone can pick out pieces in the package they don’t like, but he says the total package will be a “giant leap forward for improving Iowa’s economic climate.”Rants says it’s a make or break week, and legislators will either “get it together” this week or they won’t. Governor Tom Vilsack has some concerns about the package. He wants more of the money in the Iowa Values fund available, up-front, to give to businesses and to communities for “quality of life” improvements. Vilsack says he’s indicated all along that he’s willing to go along with a plan that provides enough of what he calls “critical mass” to stimulate business development. Vilsack met with House leaders to discuss his concerns.Vilsack says there are a few ways to “tweak the numbers” so there’d be enough money in the first two years of the fund to accomplish some “meaningful” goals. On Thursday night, Vilsack pounded the lecturn and criticized lawmakers for only meeting in special session on Thursday, and leaving for the weekend without finishing work. Vilsack says he hopes lawmakers get the job done by Wednesday.
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