Monday, May 3, 2021

Search for 'middle ground' between Iowa House and Senate Republicans

(Radio Iowa) - Negotiations continue at the statehouse to try to end the stalemate between Senate and House Republicans over taxes. A proposed cut in property taxes along with an acceleration of income tax cuts are priorities for the Senate GOP, but Senate Majority Leader Jack Whitver says there are a lot of other decisions to make, too.

"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 figure out what those joint priorities are, what we can pass to move the state forward, and end with a successful session," Whitver says.

Speaker Pat Grassley, the top Republican in the House, says there are state budget issues to resolve as well.

"We're having conversations with the Senate to try to figure out where the middle ground is on everything," Grassley says, "whether it's budget policy, tax policy...just policy in general that's out there."

The full House and Senate are not expected to have public debates Monday or Tuesday as Republicans negotiate in private to resolve a variety of issues. Republicans hold a majority of seats in the House and Senate and therefore control the debate agenda. Democrats in the legislature continue to criticize Republicans for failing to use the state's budget surplus to provide pandemic relief to small businesses and individuals. Jennifer Konfrst, the second-ranking Democrat in the Iowa House, says back in January, Republicans promised to address a lack of child care in Iowa.

"In fact, all we've got is another task force that's been announced to address child care," Konfrst says. "Well that's great, but the situation we have isn't that we don't understand where the problems are. The situation is we haven't done anything to fix the problems."

The Republican-led House has passed a series of tax credits designed to boost the number of child care slots in Iowa, but those have stalled in the Senate. The Senate's Republican leader say those proposals could be added to a final compromise on tax policy.

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