The 2004 Iowa Legislative session gets underway this morning, and the agenda items sound familiar. House Speaker Christopher Rants, a Republican from Sioux City, puts it this way. Rants says the coming legislative session will be “same song, different verse,” so that just like last year, lawmakers will try to find ways to improve Iowa’s job and business climate. In 2003, the Iowa Legislature and Governor Tom Vilsack created a new, $500 MILLION state economic development fund. Rants says there will be no “giant, grandiose” project to come out of the 2004 session. Instead, he expects lawmakers to focus on the “nuts and bolts.” Rather than one landmark piece of legislation that everybody rallies around, Rants expects legislators to come up with several different bills that focus on ways to help reduce the cost of doing business in Iowa by doing things like reduce the payroll taxes businesses pay as “insurance” for workers comp cases. Republicans hold a majority of seats in the Legislature, and that means the G-O-P gets to set the debate agenda. One of the issues that Rants says will be debated this year is gambling, but no one — at this point — is betting on the outcome. While four counties have approved gambling referendums — indicating there is a desire in some parts of Iowa for more casinos — five counties have turned down gambling proposals.
You are here: / / 2004 Legislature "same song, different verse"