The top Democrat in the Iowa House is not optimistic lawmakers can strike a compromise on property tax relief.

House Republicans favor reducing tax rates for all commercial and industrial property by 20 percent. Senate Democrats propose new tax credits, aimed at small and medium-sized businesses. House Democratic Leader Kevin McCarthy says the current focus at the statehouse appears to be on education reform. 

“I wish I could be more positive, but right now unless things alter in the very near future the odds of consensus on a commercial property tax relief proposal, for example, is very slim,” McCarthy says.

Lawmakers and the governor started the 2013 legislative session by saying commercial property tax cuts were a top priority, just as they did in 2011 and 2012 — but there’s been no breakthrough announced.

“There just doesn’t seem to be a lot of discussions occurring,” McCarthy says. “Having something to force consensus just does not appear to be there and we’ve got only three weeks left in session.”

The 2013 legislative session is scheduled to end May 3, but it’s not the real end date. May 3 is the day on which legislators’ daily expense money runs out. In 2011, for example, the legislature didn’t complete its work ’til June 30th.

McCarthy made his comments this weekend during an appearance on Iowa Public Television’s “Iowa Press” program.