State lawmakers will be returning to Des Moines early next month for a one-day “special session” to resolve the dilemma over Iowa’s premiere economic development fund. But just how much money will be set aside for the “Iowa Values Fund” is a point of contention.Democrat Governor Tom Vilsack admits there’s even disagreement over how much money is needed to pay the state grants that’ve already been promised 36 businesses. Vilsack says some people say 59 million dollars has been committed to businesses. Others maintain it’s 70 million. Vilsack is hoping lawmakers will set aside between 80 and 100 million dollars for the Iowa Values Fund, which he says will send a message that “Iowa is open for business” because even more grants would be available. House Speaker Christopher Rants, a republican from Sioux City, expects agreement soon, though, on how much to plug into the program. Rants says “everybody has said they want this to be resolved.” Rants says “gamesmanship or partisanship” on this or related issues during a special session should be eliminated because a deal will be cemented before the 150 lawmakers ever return to Des Moines. House Democrat Leader Pat Murphy of Dubuque says democrats will vote to reestablish the “Values Fund.” Murphy says it’s unfortunate that it took so long to break the gridlock. But Murphy says democrats may withhold their votes from other bills to be considered that would change the rules for workers’ compensation claims. Murphy says the Supreme Court justices threw out the Iowa Values Fund because it was created in a wide-ranging bill that dealt with too many topics — from tax cuts to business regulations to rules banks use to calculate interest on certain loans.
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