Governor Terry Branstad has approved a bill that provides emergency spending for state government operations, but Branstad used his item veto authority to reject two tax proposals included in the bill.
Branstad, a Republican, rejected two tax breaks — one designed to help businesses, the other to help the working poor. Iowans for Tax Relief president Ed Failor, Junior, said it was “discouraging” to see Branstad “remove significant tax relief options…to help Iowa job creators and Iowa families.”
Democrats used words like “blindsided” to describe Branstad’s action. Senator Joe Bolkcom, a Democrat from Iowa City, spent more than six weeks hammering out the compromise package with Republicans. Bolkcom said he didn’t know how Branstad would be able to sleep at night. Senate Democratic Leader Mike Gronstal says Branstad and his top aides were part of the behind-the-scenes negotiations on the compromise package — Gronstal suggests it was a “horrible mistake” for Branstad to derail the part Democrats supported.
“Now, I don’t really call that an honest effort at being a broker at mediating the differences between the House and Senate,” Gronstal said.
Branstad left in a proposal House Republicans sought which creates a new Taxpayers Relief Fund. Up to $60 million of surplus money left over at the end of the state’s fiscal year will be put into the account. Branstad said he rejected the other two tax proposals because he wants more comprehensive tax reform that’s geared toward job creation.
The other components of the bill provide additional state spending for community colleges, prisons and the state-run Mental Health Institutes. The plan also includes $18.6 million to pay those appointed to work on cases for clients who cannot afford their own attorney. The State of Iowa has failed to pay those legal bills for weeks, creating havoc in law offices around the state.