The top republican in the Iowa House says Democrat Governor Tom Vilsack “is not bargaining in good faith” with legislators. Lawmakers and the Governor can’t agree on how to restore the state economic development “Iowa Values” Fund. House Speaker Christopher Rants of Sioux City says republicans are willing to meet Vilsack half-way, but the Governor’s not making enough concessions. Rants says while republicans have shown a willingness to compromise, but “the governor continues to say nothing.” Rants says the governor repeatedly says he’s willing to act on his own — without legislators — to fix the problems created by last month’s Supreme Court ruling on the Iowa Values Fund. Rants says it’ll be “problematic” if the governor acts on his own to restore the Values Fund, as Rants believes Vilsack would be violating the State Constitution. Rants says it’s ironic that if he gets a speeding ticket as he drives back to Sioux City, he’ll have to pay a fine, but if Vilsack violates the Constitution, there’s no penalty. Rants says 25 businesses that expressed interest in Iowa have already withdrawn because of the impasse. Rants says the clock is ticking and he predicts a resolution must come within 45 days. Republican lawmakers like Senate President Jeff Lamberti of Ankeny say tax cuts must be part of any economic stimulus package. Lamberti says merely handing out grants to businesses isn’t an effective long-term economic development strategy. Lamberti says Vilsack’s been unwilling to make major concessions on taxes or regulatory reform. Lamberti says he’s not sure where negotiations go next. Lamberti says “if the governor is sincere about wanting to solve this problem,” then it will be solved. In response, Vilsack says he has met his “legislative friends” halfway, signalling he’d accept a one-time business tax break and some of the workers compensation changes republicans want. But Vilsack says he won’t be “tipping the balance” to make it too difficult for injured workers to get compensation. The governor says he’ll continue to look for ways to work with lawmakers, but Vilsack says he put a proposal on the table at the beginning of July and is still waiting for a response from legislative leaders. Governor Vilsack wouldn’t say if there’s a “showdown date” by which he and lawmakers absolutely must reach agreement and hold a special session, or he’ll go forward and use his powers to ensure the businesses promised state grants get the money.Rants and Lamberti made their comments during an appearance on Iowa Public Television. Vilsack’s comments came during a telephone interview with Radio Iowa.
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