The statehouse showdown among Republicans over competing tax plans entered a new phase Thursday afternoon.
As a House committee debated a plan with the top-line promise of cutting individual state income tax rates by nearly nine percent, Republicans in the Senate promised to cut those rates by eight percent next year — and eventually cut corporate income taxes, too.
Senator Randy Feenstra, a Republican from Hull, was the principle architect of the billion dollar tax cut proposal that cleared the Senate in February. Feenstra didn’t have a printed version of the new plan available for review.
“The first two years we want to give $733 million back,” Feenstra told reporters. “And then, after that, it just depends on how our economy grows and, if it grows well, we’ll continue to rachet down rates and do other things.”
Feenstra indicated the Senate Ways and Means Committee he leads will vote on this new plan next week.
Representative Guy Vander Linden, a Republican from Oskaloosa, leads a similar committee in the Iowa House. Republicans on that panel approved a $300 million tax-cutting plan Thursday afternoon.
“The Senate has always had a bill. The governor had a bill. We’ve got a bill,” Vander Linden said. “Now our bill is remarkable close to the governor, I think, so we’ll see.”
Senator Feenstra called the new Senate GOP plan “bold and prudent.”
“The bottom line is I want to make sure Iowa taxpayers get a significant reduction and that we can grow our economy and that’s what this bill is trying to do,” Feenstra said
Vander Linden, a retired Marine Corps Brigadier General, flew Marine One during Ronald Reagan’s presidency and he referred to that background as he spoke with reporters yesterday.
“‘We used to stay that there are old pilots and bold pilots, but no old, bold pilots,” Vander Linden said. “And I think that may apply to tax relief as well.”
Vander Linden said Republicans in the House are aiming for “responsible” tax cuts.
“We have to keep in mind that we still have obligations for the state to fund education and Medicaid and all of those things,” Vander Linden said. “And we are a little bit more cautious.”
Representative Dave Jacoby, a Democrat from Coralville, told reporters Thursday morning none of the ideas Republicans have floated are reasonable.*
“The budget is such a mess, how can we afford now to take another $300 million chunk out of the budget?” Jacoby asked. “The math just does not add up.”
Jacoby used some coarse language to suggest the tug-of-war among Republicans won’t be resolved quickly. Vander Linden, the Republican chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, said it’ll be “at least next week” before a final resolution.
“We always get these things worked out,” Vander Linden said. “And we will.”
Senator Feenstra offered similar sentiments.
“There is a lot of common ground,” Feenstra said. “…We’re hoping that in the next five to 10 days we can get to a resolution.”
The daily expense money legislators get runs out next Tuesday.