Democrat Governor Tom Vilsack and republican legislative leaders are meeting at this hour to search for a compromise that would restore the state’s new economic development program. Vilsack, though, isn’t holding out much hope as he says republicans in the state Senate do not appear willing to meet in special session this summer to resolve the dilemma created by a Supreme Court ruling. Vilsack says he’s “always happy to talk, always happy to listen,” but he says legislators “have to be realistic” about what can be accomplished in a special session. Vilsack is rejecting the Senate G-O-P’s demand that a deal include phasing out the state taxes on Social Security income.Vilsack says the Senate Republican call for tax cuts “doesn’t make any sense” at a time when the state budget is so lean and there are demands for more spending on education and health care. Republicans say tax cuts jump-start the economy, and just throwing money at businesses isn’t enough to make up an “economic stimulus” package. Vilsack says without action from the legislature, he believes he may have the authority to make the 36 “Iowa Values Fund” grants legal. Vilsack says he’ll do everything he possibly can within the power of the executive branch to make good on the promises state officials made those 36 businesses. Vilsack expects to emerge from his closed-door meeting with legislators shortly before noon and he’ll talk with reporters then.
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