Republican legislators are reluctant to endorse democrat Governor Tom Vilsack’s proposed 80-cent-per-pack cigarette tax increase. Senate Co-Leader Stewart Iverson, a republican from Dows, is a definite “no” vote. “I do not think it’s appropriate to raise taxes on Iowans — period,” Iverson says. “I don’t care. Pick any tax you want.” Representative Bill Dix, a republican from Shell Rock who is chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, says the governor offered a lot of “razzle dazzle” but that hasn’t convinced Dix to vote to raise the cigarette tax. “I don’t believe we have to raise a tax,” Dix says. “There are a number of methods that I believe we can fund our priorities for the poor and vulnerable without raising that tax.” House Speaker Christopher Rants, a republican from Sioux City, says the overall spending plan Vilsack outlined for the next 18 months is way too costly. “The first impression I have is that it’s a 10 percent increase in spending this year,” Rants says. “I’m not sure if Iowans are really anxious to have their government grow by 10 percent in one year.” “A 10 percent bump in one year is a lot of cash,” according to Rants.
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