Governor Tom Vilsack just this morning released the details of his state budget plan for next year, and it includes about 300-million dollars worth of new tax revenue. On Tuesday, Vilsack told lawmakers he wants a 60-cent-per-pack increase in the tax on cigarettes and an expansion of the state sales tax so it’s charged on services like accounting, landscaping and engineering. Legislators of both parties gave Vilsack’s ideas little chance. Senate Republican Leader Stewart Iverson of Dows isn’t giving Vilsack’s budget plan much shot at becoming law. Iverson says it’s certainly something legislators will take a look at, but he says it’ll have a “real uphill battle, to put it mildly.” Iverson says he’s asked Senate Democrats if they’ll vote for the tax increase, and they’ve said no. Senate Democrat Leader Michael Gronstal of Council Bluffs said earlier this week that democrats in the legislature have a fairly high resistance to raising taxes.Vilsack says the tax hikes as needed to make sure Iowa schools get enough cash from the stateIverson, who used to be a school board member, now has an answer to those who complain about cuts in state aid to schools. Iverson says there are 18,000 fewer K-12 students in Iowa today than there were five years ago, yet state aid and property tax support of K-12 schools today is 308 million dollars more than it was five years ago.
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