Republicans in the Iowa Senate have passed a package of tax cuts and spending to bolster the state’s beleaguered economy. Senate Republican Leader Stewart Iverson of Dows says passage of a pay-as-you-go, 500-million dollar state economic development fund proves the naysayers wrong. Iverson calls it a “common sense” package that offers solutions that work without taking the state into debt.In addition to an economic development fund, the legislation would cut Iowans income taxes by about 300-million — the largest tax cut in Iowa history. Democrats like Senator Joel Bolkcom of Iowa City say that’s “blow a hole” in the state budget. Bolkcom says it’s “fiscally irresponsible to give up that kind of revenue at this time.” Senate Democrat Leader Mike Gronstal of Council Bluffs calls the Republican plan “disappointing.”Gronstal says it’s a scale-back, half-hearted version of the original concept, and Gronstal says Democrats will now blame Republicans for every plant closing in Iowa in the coming year because the plan — in Gronstal’s words — is a failure. Senator Bill Dotzler, a Democrat from Waterloo, calls the economic development fund a “small step forward.” Dotzler says lawmakers had a chance to hit a home run, but they laid down a bunt instead. Republican Senator David Miller of Batavia says the package is a combination of old and new ideas. Miller says in the end, it reflects Iowa values like thrift and targeting resources to do the most good. Miller says “your attitude determines your altitude,” and he chooses to see the glass “half-full rather than half-empty.” Senator Jack Hatch, a Democrat from Des Moines, says the plan’s not good enough.Republican Congressman Steve King — a former state Senator — claims the Republican-crafted plan misuses the federal money coming Iowa’s way in the economic stimulus package by using the money for a new economic development fund. Republican Senator Neal Schuerer of Amana defends the decision Shuerer says investing in business development is the best use of that federal money, and he disagrees with his former colleague, Congressman King.
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