The top Democrat in the legislature brushes aside the idea public comments from the legislature’s highest-ranking Republican have had an impact on private negotiations over property tax reform.
House Speaker Kraig Paulsen spoke at an Iowa Republican Party fundraiser this weekend and referred to a property tax plan devised by Senate Democrats as “a piece of junk.” Senate Democratic Leader Mike Gronstal said today that he’s more worried about policy than rhetoric.
“I’m not going to spend a lot of time worrying about what people say in front of their big groups. I’d probably say some fairly pointed things if I was in front of a large Democratic gathering, so I accept that reality,” Gronstal told reporters. “Our job as legislators…is to pursue good public policy. I’m going to try to do that.”
The plans Democrats and Republicans released late last week have some similarities, but some major differences. The governor this morning described it as a “delicate situation” to resolve. Gronstal said there is “always a way” to come up with a compromise.
“I mean, there are times when you kind of wonder in this place whether people really do want to work on something or not,” Gronstal said. “I’m going to do my best to figure that out, do my best to figure out a pathway to do something about commercial property taxes in this state in a way that doesn’t create tax shifts to other entities.”
Republican Governor Branstad and Lieutenant Governor Kim Reynolds are in northeast Iowa today and tomorrow, holding five town hall meetings to try to build more public pressure on legislators to strike a property tax deal.