Lawmakers seem to be speeding toward the conclusion of the 2012 Iowa legislative session, but it’s unclear whether property tax reform will be addressed or abandoned.
House Speaker Kraig Paulsen — the top Republican in the legislature — says the property tax bill passed in the House last night is pretty much the final offer from House Republicans.
“My understanding of the framework of the agreement, that bill conforms to it. You know, the Senate, the House, the governor (have) pieces in there,” Paulsen told reporters this morning. “So unless we’re going to add more more relief to it or something along those lines, we’re not very interested in backing up.”
Senate Democratic Leader Mike Gronstal suggests the bill that cleared the House last night is “a game” of political posturing rather than an agreement.
“They can pass bills that they say, unilaterally, (are) the compromise or we can sit down and talk together and work it out,” Gronstal told reporters this morning.
“If it’s a game about passing different versions for political purposes, we’re perfectly capable of engaging in that. I don’t think that’s particularly productive, but parts of this job are policy and parts of this job are politics. I’d prefer to focus my efforts on the policy side at this point in time.”
Paulsen has not talked with Gronstal or any other legislators involved in property tax negotiations today and Paulsen told reporters his hope is that Senate Democrats will capitulate and simply accept the bill House Republicans passed Monday night.
“I see no reason why we can’t resolve that today,” Paulsen said.
Gronstal told reporters “some” legislative leaders are still involved in negotiations on the property tax deal, but “some aren’t.”
“The leaders should look for common ground on this issue and grab what’s available,” Gronstal said.
It appears legislators have reached an agreement on education reform and only one area of significant disagreement remains on the state budget. Legislators involved in negotiations on that abortion-related policy met this morning to try to reach a compromise.