Republicans in the Iowa House say they don’t expect democrat Governor Tom Vilsack to propose a tax increase because he hasn’t been laying the groundwork for it. House Speaker Christopher Rants, a republican from Sioux City, says republicans aren’t talking about raising taxes.Rants says he saw very few legislators even propose a tax increase during their campaigns. Rants says he is concerned that Governor Vilsack’s tax plan — unveiled last week as a way to simplify the state income tax — will mean a few Iowans will see a tax increase as the rates are changed. Vilsack is also calling for a boost in teacher pay, financial incentives to encourage small schools to make changes and more money for preschool programs. “Thus far, he hasn’t begun to build the case for a massive tax increase, so he must be talking about reallocating within the existing budget,” Rants says. Rants says the governor has been unveiling his legislative priorities for 2005 in speeches around the state and no where has he been making the case for a tax increase. Rants points out that last year at this time, Vilsack -was- advocating tax increases, like broadening the state sales tax to make it apply to more services, like landscaping and accounting. The 51 republicans who’ll be serving in the Iowa House in January met privately today (Wednesday) to discuss issues ranging from education to economic development.
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