After a month of bickering, Republicans and Democrats have finally struck an agreement on a package of tax breaks and emergency spending for the current state budgeting year. The Iowa House and Senate approved the compromise Monday.
It includes over $18.5 million to pay the state’s overdue legal bills to attorneys and others who were appointed to work on cases for clients who can’t afford their own lawyer. There’s also money for the state’s prisons, the highway patrol, community colleges and Mental Health Institutes.
Representative Scott Raecker, a Republican from Urbandale, was co-chair of the 10-person committee that hammered out the deal.
“And I do believe it presents us a path to move forward,” Raecker says. House Republicans got the new “Taxpayers Relief Fund” they wanted, while Senate Democrats got the tax break they wanted for Iowans who earn less than 45-thousand dollars a year. However, it took a month for the two parties to strike this agreement.
“We did come to this, in good faith, with give and take,” Raecker says. On Monday, Governor Branstad said he would sign the bill into law, but Branstad, who is a Republican, hinted he might use his item veto authority to reject the tax proposal Democrats had advanced.