A Republican leader at the statehouse who’s running for Congress is proposing a new state tax credit for small businesses that provide health insurance for their workers. Senate Co-President Jeff Lamberti of Ankeny says many small businesses do not offer health insurance and those that do are finding it difficult to afford the benefit. Lamberti wants to restrict the tax credit to businesses that have 50 or fewer employees, and it would be worth one-thousand dollars per employee with a maximum benefit to any one business of 25-thousand dollars.

Lamberti says nearly 82-thousand Iowa small businesses would fit in the under-50-employee category. Lamberti calls his proposal “bold” and “strong.” Other legislators and Patty Judge, one of the candidates for governor, have put forward other plans to try to tackle the problem of rising health insurance premiums. Critics say the amount of the state tax credits proposed won’t be enough to make a small business owner offer health insurance.

Lamberti says the state has to do something. “I guess I’m encouraged that we have a lot of different proposals on the table (so) this will in fact be the year that the Iowa Legislature does something significant for working families,” Lamberti says. Lamberti is running for the congressional seat currently held by Democrat Leonard Boswell.