Monday, May 10, 2021

Key Senate Republican says House GOP on 'lonely island' with their tax plan

(Radio Iowa) - The Republican who's leading the Iowa Senate's tax writing committee suggests House Republicans are tone deaf to demands for property tax relief. Senator Dan Dawson, a Republican from Council Bluffs, says it's time to end property tax support of the system and embrace the governor's tax plan which includes that change.

"We all know that there's a skyrocket real estate market occurring as we speak, Dawson says. "These assessments are coming home to roost at some point in time." Dawson hosted a subcommittee hearing on the overall plan Monday morning.

"This bill is the pathway forward," Dawson says. "There is no other train in this capitol right now that's going to leave the station and address all of these priorities."

Dawson says since Senate Republicans and Republican Governor Reynolds are on the same page, Republicans in the HOUSE are on a "lonely island" with their alternative plan that does not get rid of the property tax levy for mental health services. Senator Pam Jochum, a Democrat from Dubuque, says her analysis of the two plans shows there are 23 tax changes that the House AND Senate agree on, but 10 others that are just in the Senate's plan.

"I wish you well in trying to negotiate those differences between the two chambers," Jochum says.

One policy dispute between the Senate and House appears to be resolved. The House on three separate occasions this year has voted for what's called telehealth parity and now Senate Republicans are including it in their tax bill. It would force insurance companies to reimburse virtual visits for mental health counseling at the same rate as in-person appointments. Some surrounding states, including Nebraska, have taken this step and the Iowa Hospital Association says if Iowa does not, it'll be even harder to recruit psychiatrists to practice in Iowa.

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