Governor Vilsack’s offer to be a sort of scapegoat in a tax debate has fallen on deaf ears at the statehouse. Yesterday, Vilsack offered to “bear the burden” from any political firestorm that might come from raising taxes. The governor said he’d be willing to round up half the democrat votes if republican leaders round up the rest. Senate Democrat Leader Michael Gronstal of Council Bluffs says he’s waiting for republican senators — who hold a majority of seats in the senate — to show some interest in raising taxes. Gronstal says he’s “not going to expend a lot of energy or political capital” pursuing something republican senators have said they’re not interested in doing. Gronstal says “if 29 republicans say they’re not going to do it, 29 beats 21.” There are 21 democrats in the senate and 29 republicans but one of those republicans is on active military duty, so he isn’t in Des Moines to vote. On the House side, House Democrat Leader Pat Murphy of Dubuque suggests until republicans move, it’s not worth it for democrats to stick their necks out. Murphy says “maybe the governor’s offered an olive branch.” But House Speaker Christopher Rants, a republican from Sioux City, doubts Vilsack can deliver on his promise. Rants says he’s not sure Vilsack speaks for democrats in the House and Senate, and until democrats in the legislative branch show a willingness to vote for a tax increase, Rants won’t take Vilsack’s offer seriously.
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