Key decision-makers say the next four months present an open window for reform of the state tax code and changes in various governmental units within Iowa. Senate Co-Leader Mike Gronstal, a democrat from Council Bluffs. Gronstal says significant reform would have a toughter time passing the legislature in 2006 because it’s an election year. Governor Vilsack on Tuesday convened a group of 12 legislators who’re discussing restructuring local governments and revising the state’s property tax system. House Speaker Christopher Rants, a republican from Sioux City, says he’s glad Vilsack has “injected himself” in the process. “If you’re going to lay forward a proposal for Iowans to examine about what the future of local government might look like, you need to speak with one voice,” Rants says. “You need to have someone who can articulate that idea to Iowans who may be hesitant about change…and there’s no better person to fill that role in the state than the governor of the state.” Rants says it’s too easy for the legislature not to try to tackle big ideas in an election year. “If you could get it done in the non-election year it certainly gives everybody a higher level of comfort and it gives people a little bit more flexibility to try out new ideas than it does in an election year,” Rant says. Vilsack and the reform group will meet again on Monday.
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