After weeks of private negotiations, Republican legislators are still wrangling over the size and scope of a tax cut package.
House Speaker Linda Upmeyer yesterday said discussions have been “productive,” but there’s no consensus among Republicans in the House and Senate over how large the tax cut should be. Upmeyer told reporters it takes time to evaluate how different options impact the bottom line.
“Part of it is we do want to be technically correct, so that we’re doing what we think we’re doing because, as I’ve learned more this year than I’ve ever appreciated in the past, how complicated tax bills can become,” she said.
Representative Guy Vander Linden, a Republican from Oskaloosa, is chairman of the House Ways and Means “tax writing” Committee. He said House Republicans are more concerned about what the state can afford, while Senate Republicans are focused on “being bold.”
“And everybody’s got an opinion about just about every facet of it, so it’s just going to take some time,” Vander Linden said, “but I think we’re much closer than we have been.”
Senate President Charles Schneider, a Republican from West Des Moines, suggested there’s no rush to strike an accord on taxes or on the related discussion about next year’s state spending plan.
“We’re not really focused on a timeline, per se,” Schneider said. “We’re focused on making sure that we’ve got the elements of tax reform that we want to have included in the final agreement and that we’re passing and agreeing to a budget that’s reasonable and that Iowans would think is common sense.”
For example, Senate Republicans put a cut in the corporate tax rate in the plan they passed earlier this year. A corporate cut isn’t in the plan Republican Governor Kim Reynolds released in February. She didn’t call for changing tax treatment for credit unions, either. That’s something banks are seeking and it was included in the Senate GOP’s plan.
That Senate GOP plan called for a billion dollars worth of tax cuts annually. Governor Reynolds’ plan, which House Republicans are using as their starting point in negotiations, would amount to about $300 million in cuts per year.