Senate Majority Leader Jack Whitver says it is unlikely Republicans legislators will agree on how to address complaints that companies like Apple and Amazon are censoring conservatives.
Senators have voted to withdraw state and local tax breaks for big tech companies if a court rules Iowans are being censored. A plan in the House narrowed the bill, to apply only when Iowa elected officials or political candidates have online posts or accounts removed.
“I’m not ready to throw any bill away for the session because there are a lot of negotiations going on,” Whitver said, “but it seems like we’re probably far enough apart on that issue that it’ll be tough to find resolution this year.”
Friday is the 110th day of this year’s legislative session, the last day members of the Iowa House and Senate get a daily stipend to cover expenses. It’s often a target date for adjourning for the year.
“The House has passed a lot of different bills. We’ve passed a lot of different bills and we need to just get on the same page and figured out what those joint priorities are, what we can pass to move this state forward and end with a successful session,” Whitver said. “I am very optimistic that we will end a very successful session here fairly soon, but we just still have a lot of negotiations left to go to get to that point.”
Senate Republicans, for example, have proposed a wide array of tax cuts, while House Republicans have proposed a series of tax credits.
“We’re still having that conversation, but I think overall we’re fortunate here in Iowa that we can even have that conversation,” Whitver said. “We managed our budget very prudently over the past few years, even through the pandemic we ended with a surplus, so that we can come back and not offer a stimulus payment to people, but offer permanent, lasting tax cuts to Iowans and still have a responsible budget.”
Democrats have argued at least part of the state’s $1 billion budget surplus and cash reserve should be used to help individuals and businesses in Iowa who’ve taken a financial hit in the pandemic. Whitver said Senate Republicans are prioritizing $100 million in property tax relief, with a proposed state take-over of the mental health system, along with eliminating some tax revenue guideposts set up in 2018, so a series of income tax cuts can take effect.
“We want that tax cut to be done this year. We also have been very adamant about removing mental health off of the property tax rolls,” Whitver said. “If we can find agreement on those two things, I think a lot of other things will fall in place pretty quick.”
Whitver made his comments during an interview with Radio Iowa.