Friday, May 7, 2021

Unanimous committee vote for Iowa House GOP tax plan

(Radio Iowa) - Democrats on a House committee joined Republicans in voting for the House GOP's latest tax plan. It includes more than two dozen tax changes, but notably does NOT include using state tax dollars rather than county property taxes to support Iowa's mental health system. SENATE Republicans and Governor Reynolds back that move, but House Republicans say it's a big policy shift that needs more work. Representative Chuck Isenhart of Dubuque, a Democrat, agrees.

"I understand that the Senate bill proposes to make what many could consider potentially radical changes to how we deliver mental health in this state based on who pays for it," Isenhart says, "and I agree with Speaker Grassley that we have not really considered all the ramifications."

House Ways and Means Committee chairman Lee Hein, a Republican from Monticello, acknowledges the debate among Republicans over tax policy isn't resolved, however.

"I'm hoping we're getting close to being at the end, but anything can happen and 'stay tuned' I guess would be my message," Hein said.

The House is planning to debate some state budget plans Thursday and perhaps Friday, but there's no universal agreement on state spending among Republicans in the House and Senate. Senate Democratic Leader Zach Wahls of Coralville says there is no end in sight for the 2021 legislative session.

"Here we are now, swinging into May, and Republicans are kind of squabbling with each other over the budget and taxes...and don't really have a clear sense of how to get out of this mess that they've made for themselves."

Senate Majority Leader Jack Whitver says Senate Republicans want to resolve the tax impasse before making final decisions on the state budget plan for the fiscal year that begins July 1st.

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