Governor Tom Vilsack’s call for a 60-cent increase in the cigarette tax and an expansion of the state sales tax so it’s charged on services like consulting and accounting isn’t even getting support from within his own party. Senate Democrat Leader Michael Gronstal of Council Bluffs says democrats in the legislature have a “fairly high resistance to increasing taxes.” Gronstal says Democrats have also opposed the “hidden” tax increases Republican legislators created by not providing enough money for property tax credits, thereby increasing propserty taxes. House Speaker Christopher Rants, a Republican from Sioux City, says the tax ideas Vilsack outlined today didn’t exactly get a rousing response. Rants says neither Republicans nor Democrats in the room applauded. Rants says it looks like Vilsack’s proposing about 300-MILLION dollars in new taxes. Rants says Vilsack hasn’t provided legislators with the details yet, but it sounded like Vilsack’s asking for more than 300-MILLION dollars in new spending. Senate President-elect Jeff Lamberti of Ankeny says raising taxes isn’t the answer to the state’s budget woes. Lamberti says he believes the people of Iowa want the state to live within its means. And Lamberti says the tax increases Vilsack outlined could be the largest in state history. Vilsack, meanwhile, is taking to the road this week with stops in several Iowa cities where he will make his case that the state needs a “financial bridge” in new taxes in order to meet spending priorities on education, health care and public safety.
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