Legislators are outraged by today’s Iowa Supreme Court decision which will cost the state millions. The state’s race tracks are owed $112 million in back taxes — all because the Iowa Supreme Court has ruled it’s unconstitutional for the state to tax race tracks at a higher rate than riverboats. The U.S. Supreme Court last year said the two-tiered system was O.K. under the U.S. Constitution, but now Iowa’s high court says the Iowa Constitution is different. Senate President Jeff Lamberti says Iowa Court’s decision is troubling. Lamberti, a republican from Ankeny who’s a lawyer, says Iowa has now become the only state in the nation where the state Supreme Court sets tax policy. Lamberti says it is probably the biggest shift in the balance of power in our state’s history. Lamberti says the Iowa Supreme Court is going to become “the laughingstock of the nation.” Senate Republican Leader Stewart Iverson of Dows says it’s “judicial activism” at its worst. Iverson says everybody’s human, but for the Iowa Supreme Court to say the U.S. Supreme Court’s unanimous opinion is wrong is “pretty serious.” House Speaker Christopher Rants, a republican from Sioux City, says the race tracks shouldn’t go out and spend their court winnings just yet. Rants says lawmakers will not let the Supreme Court put a multimillion dollar tab on other taxpayers, and legislators will find another way to recoup the money from the casinos that filed the lawsuit. House Republican Leader Chuck Gipp of Decorah says it’s maddening to have the tracks sue on this matter, since the tracks accepted the higher tax rate years ago in return for getting slot machines at the tracks. Gipp says for the tracks to sue is “offensive” because they knew full well the deal they were making. Without slot machine casinos, Gipp says Prairie Meadows, Dubuque and Council Bluffs tracks would have gone bankrupt.
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