A key Democrat says Republican Governor Terry Branstad has delivered an “ultimatum” that’s a set back in negotiations over ending the stalemate at the statehouse over the state budget.

Branstad this morning told reporters his fellow Republicans in the House had made “progress” but the latest House GOP plan which would reduce commercial and industrial property taxes by 25 percent does go far enough. Branstad is still demanding a 40 percent cut. Senate Appropriations Committee chairman Bob Dvorksy, a Democrat from Coralville, calls that a set back.

“It certainly throws in a new variable,” Dvorsky said during a telephone interview with Radio Iowa.

According to Dvorsky, it seemed as if the 25 percent reduction in property taxes that House Republicans proposed last week was “moving in the right direction.” 

“We need to work on commercial property taxes,” Dvorsky said. “That’s clearly an issue.”

But Dvorsky said Branstad’s “ultimatum” doesn’t help. “Going back at the last minute and changing the rules isn’t the way to move forward on negotiations,” Dvorsky said.

At 8:30 this morning, Dvorsky issued an upbeat written statement, saying it appeared there had been a “significant step” taken in private negotiations over the state budget, and the “final hurdle” could be cleared soon. But two-and-a-half hours later — after Branstad’s weekly news conference at 9 a.m.– Dvorsky said Branstad’s “threat” on property taxes had revived the prospect of a shut-down of state government when the new state budgeting year starts July 1.