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CHRISTOPHER RANTS
SPEAKER OF THE IOWA HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

(#3036)

April 25, 2003

IOWA PRESS #3036 >>

Borg: AT THE IOWA STATEHOUSE, THE FIRST SESSION OF IOWA'S 80TH GENERAL ASSEMBLY IS IN ITS FINAL DAYS. WE'LL GET A LEGISLATIVE UPDATE FROM THE SPEAKER OF THE IOWA HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, CHRISTOPHER RANTS, ON THIS EDITION OF "IOWA PRESS."

FUNDING FOR THIS PROGRAM WAS PROVIDED BY "FRIENDS," THE IOWA PUBLIC TELEVISION FOUNDATION... GENERATIONS OF FAMILIES AND FRIENDS WHO FEEL PASSIONATE ABOUT THE PROGRAMS THEY WATCH ON IOWA PUBLIC TELEVISION.

AND BY THE IOWA BANKERS ASSOCIATION... FOR PERSONAL, BUSINESS, AND COMMERCIAL NEEDS, IOWA BANKS HELP IOWANS REACH THEIR FINANCIAL GOALS; AND BY THE ASSOCIATED GENERAL CONTRACTORS OF IOWA... THE PUBLIC'S PARTNER IN BUILDING IOWA'S HIGHWAY, BRIDGE, AND MUNICIPAL UTILITY INFRASTRUCTURE.

ON STATEWIDE IOWA PUBLIC TELEVISION, THIS IS THE FRIDAY, APRIL 25 EDITION OF "IOWA PRESS." HERE IS DEAN BORG.

Borg: FRIDAY, MAY 2, IS THE FINAL SCHEDULED DAY OF THIS YEAR'S 110-DAY LEGISLATIVE SESSION. IOWA'S 150 ELECTED SENATORS AND REPRESENTATIVES ARE NEGOTIATING NOW THE FINE POINTS ON A NUMBER OF ISSUES, MOST NOTABLY THE 2004 STATE BUDGET, DEALING WITH ANTICIPATED BUDGET DEFICIT EXCEEDING $200 MILLION PLUS. AND THAT'S SHADOWED THE LEGISLATIVE SESSION SINCE IT BEGAN ON JANUARY 13. THERE WAS ALSO SOME TOUGH TALK LATE THIS WEEK BETWEEN REPUBLICAN LEGISLATIVE LEADERS AND DEMOCRAT GOVERNOR TOM VILSACK OVER ANOTHER PERCEIVED PRIORITY: A PROPOSAL CALLED THE IOWA VALUES FUND FOR ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT. THE GOVERNOR WAS ON THIS PROGRAM LAST WEEK WITH SOME CHEERLEADING FOR CREATING THAT FUND. FOR SOME LEGISLATIVE PERSPECTIVE ON THAT AND OTHER ISSUES THIS WEEK, WE'RE CALLING ON CHRISTOPHER RANTS. HE'S A REPUBLICAN FROM SIOUX CITY, AND HE'S SPEAKER OF THE IOWA HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES. WELCOME BACK TO "IOWA PRESS."

Rants: THANKS FOR INVITING ME.

Borg: A STRATEGIC TIME FOR YOU TO BE HERE.

Rants: YES, IT IS.

Borg: ACROSS THE "IOWA PRESS" TABLE: "DES MOINES REGISTER" POLITICAL COLUMNIST DAVID YEPSEN AND "ASSOCIATED PRESS" SENIOR LEGISLATIVE REPORTER MIKE GLOVER.

Glover: SPEAKER RANTS, THE LEGISLATURE BEGAN THIS YEAR WITH A VERY AMBITIOUS AGENDA, A LOT OF ITEMS ON THE TABLE: TAX REFORM, THE IOWA VALUES FUND. A LOT OF THAT SEEMS TO BE IN TROUBLE RIGHT NOW JUST A WEEK BEFORE THE END OF THE SESSION. ARE YOU WORRIED THAT YOU'RE NOT GOING TO BE ABLE TO ACCOMPLISH THESE TOP PRIORITIES?

Rants: I THINK WE CAN GET THESE ITEMS ACCOMPLISHED, MIKE. IT'S -- WE DID START WITH AN AMBITIOUS AGENDA. I'VE BEEN IN THE LEGISLATURE NOW FOR ELEVEN YEARS, AND THIS IS PROBABLY THE BIGGEST AGENDA WE'VE EVER HAD TO TRY TO ACCOMPLISH IN ONE SESSION. AND IT'S PROVING DIFFICULT IN PART BECAUSE, AS DEAN SAID, WE'RE ALSO DEALING WITH SOME SIGNIFICANT BUDGET DIFFICULTIES AT THE SAME TIME. BUT WE'RE MAKING GOOD PROGRESS. I BELIEVE THAT NEXT WEEK WE'LL BE READY IN THE HOUSE TO DEBATE A VERY SIGNIFICANT REGULATORY REFORM BILL, WHICH IS PART OF OUR ECONOMIC GROWTH PACKAGE. WE PASSED, ON THURSDAY, PERHAPS THE MOST SWEEPING REVISIONS TO THE PROPERTY TAX SYSTEM IN IOWA EVER. WE DID THAT ON A BIPARTISAN BASIS. WE RECEIVED OVER 80 VOTES IN THE HOUSE CHAMBER. WE'RE EXPECTING THE SENATE TO DEBATE THAT NEXT WEEK. WE'RE MAKING PROGRESS IN THE VALUES FUND. THAT'S HAVING SOME DIFFICULTY, BUT I THINK WE'RE GOING TO GET THAT JOB DONE.

Glover: WELL, HELP US OUT HERE, THOSE OF US ON THE SIDELINES WHO KEEP HEARING THINGS FROM REPUBLICAN LEGISLATIVE LEADERS, SUCH AS, "WE'RE NOT GOING TO DEBATE ANY OF THAT IN THE SENATE, WE'RE JUST GOING TO PASS A BUDGET AND GO HOME, THERE'S NO MORE TALKING."

Rants: I THINK THAT'S A MISTAKE, TO BE REAL FRANK. I THINK THAT'S A MISTAKE. AND YOU HAVEN'T HEARD THAT OUT OF LEGISLATORS ON THE HOUSE SIDE. WHAT WE HAVE SAID IS WE THINK THERE ARE SOME KEY ELEMENTS TO OUR ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT PACKAGE FOR THE YEAR. AND WE ARE PROCEEDING IN AN ORDERLY FASHION IN THE HOUSE TO ACCOMPLISH THOSE ELEMENTS, FIRST BEING THE PROPERTY TAX PIECE. WE ACCOMPLISHED THAT ON THURSDAY. ON MONDAY OR TUESDAY OF NEXT WEEK, WE WILL TAKE UP THE REGULATORY REFORM BILL. WE ARE VERY CLOSE TO REACHING AN AGREEMENT WITH GOVERNOR VILSACK ON THAT. ACTUALLY, IF WE'RE SUCCESSFUL IN THAT AGREEMENT, HE WILL PROBABLY REVERSE COURSE ON A COUPLE ITEMS HE'S VETOED IN THE PAST.

Glover: AND IT'S A BICAMERAL LEGISLATURE. HOW DO YOU OVERCOME --

Rants: IT IS A BICAMERAL LEGISLATURE. WELL, WE THINK THESE ARE ISSUES THAT ARE IMPORTANT TO REPUBLICANS AND DEMOCRATS IN BOTH THE HOUSE AND THE SENATE. I KNOW THE SENATE LEADERSHIP HAS GOT SOME CONCERNS ABOUT SOME OF THESE ISSUES. THE FACT IS WE SHOULD NOT JUST SAY THAT BALANCING A BUDGET IS GOOD ENOUGH AND GO HOME. IN THE STATE OF THE ECONOMY THAT WE HAVE IN THIS STATE, WHEN WE CAME INTO THIS LEGISLATIVE SESSION, WE SAID THAT WE HAVE TO TAKE SOME PRETTY STRONG STEPS OR BOLD STEPS. AND THAT'S A WORD THAT'S MAYBE TOO OFTEN USED. BUT WE HAVE TO MAKE SOME CHANGES IN THE WAY WE DO BUSINESS IN IOWA. IF WE DON'T -- IF WE DON'T, IF WE JUST LET ANOTHER YEAR GO BY, WE'RE SENDING THE WRONG SIGNAL CERTAINLY TO OUR YOUNG PEOPLE, WE'RE SENDING THE WRONG SIGNAL TO THE BUSINESS COMMUNITY, AND THE PEOPLE IN THIS STATE WHO HAVE LOST JOBS, WHO ARE WORRIED ABOUT LOSING JOBS, ABOUT WHAT WE'RE DOING TO MOVE THIS STATE FORWARD. WE HAVE CENTERED OUR REPUBLICAN AGENDA AROUND THREE ITEMS: REGULATORY REFORM; TAX REFORM; AND LASTLY, THE LAST COMPONENT OF THAT IS MAKING AN INVESTMENT IN THE INFRASTRUCTURE AND IN THE RESEARCH AND IN THE BUSINESSES OF THE FUTURE FOR THIS STATE TO PROVIDE THOSE JOBS TO THE YOUNG PEOPLE OF IOWA. AND WE'RE GOING TO, IN THE HOUSE AT LEAST, COMPLETE WORK IN ALL THREE OF THOSE ITEMS. AND WE'RE GOING TO DO EVERYTHING WE CAN TO MAKE SURE THAT OUR COLLEAGUES ACROSS THE ROTUNDA AT LEAST TAKE A LOOK AT THOSE THREE, BECAUSE WE THINK THAT'S PART OF THE JOB THAT WE WERE ELECTED TO DO.

Yepsen: MR. SPEAKER, YOU ARE CORRECT. IT IS A BIG AGENDA, WHETHER IT'S BOLD OR NOT, BUT IT IS BIG. I MEAN JUST MECHANICALLY, ANY ONE OF THOSE THINGS THAT YOU'VE MENTIONED -- AND WE WANT TO GET TO ALL OF THOSE -- ARE HUGE. AND THE QUESTION IS, IS IT ALL BAD AT THIS POINT IN THE LEGISLATIVE SESSION TO JUST WAIT, TO GIVE YOURSELF TIME OVER THE SUMMER TO WRITE, FINELY TUNE COMPLICATED TAX LEGISLATION, REGULATORY LEGISLATION. THIS VALUES FUND IS A HUGE PIECE OF PUBLIC POLICY. WHAT'S WRONG WITH WAITING?

Rants: MY FEAR WITH THAT, DAVID, IS THAT WE END UP WITH WHAT TYPICALLY HAPPENS IN THE LEGISLATURE. WE'LL HAVE ANOTHER REPORT THAT SITS ON A SHELF SOMEWHERE AND COLLECTS DUST. WE'VE BEEN TALKING ABOUT, FOR INSTANCE, PROPERTY TAXES, FOR AS LONG AS I'VE BEEN IN THE LEGISLATURE, BUT WE'VE NEVER REALLY DONE MUCH ABOUT IT. WE HAVE REPORT AFTER REPORT AFTER REPORT FROM INTERIM STUDY COMMITTEES THAT SITS ON A SHELF SOMEWHERE. WE DON'T DO ANYTHING. SO WE'RE STARTING TO DO SOMETHING IN THIS STATE TO MOVE OURSELVES FORWARD. AND WE UNDERSTAND THAT COMPLETELY JUNKING THE PROPERTY TAX CODE AS WE KNOW IT TODAY AND STARTING FROM SCRATCH IS A MULTISTEP PROCESS, BUT WE'RE TAKING THAT FIRST STEP THIS YEAR. AND WE KNOW THAT IT'S GOING TO TAKE A COUPLE OF YEARS TO PHASE IN. ONE OF THE ASPECTS OF THE BILL THAT WE PASSED ON THURSDAY INVOLVES A PILOT PROJECT IN A LARGE, A MEDIUM, AND A SMALL COUNTY IN THIS STATE, SO WE KNOW HAVE HAVE TIME TO MAKE SOME OF THOSE CHANGES. BUT IT'S TIME TO START THAT PROCESS IN IOWA. WE CAN'T AFFORD AS A STATE TO JUST KEEP SITTING ON THE SIDELINES AND WATCHING THE STATES AROUND US MAKE THE CHANGES THEY NEED TO MOVE THEIR ECONOMY FORWARD AND FOR US TO DO NOTHING.

Borg: PUT IN PERSPECTIVE FOR ME YOUR EARLIER COMMENT THAT THIS WAS A VERY HEFTY AGENDA. ARE YOU SAYING THAT IT SHOULDN'T HAVE BEEN ON THE AGENDA -- THESE THINGS SHOULDN'T HAVE BEEN ON THE AGENDA, THAT THEY SHOULD HAVE MECHANICALLY BEEN HANDLED ANOTHER WAY RATHER THAN STARTING RIGHT OUT THE LEGISLATIVE SESSION WITH THAT ON THE LEGISLATIVE AGENDA?

Rants: THAT'S SOMETIMES WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU HAVE AN ELECTION AND YOU DON'T KNOW WHO THE PLAYERS ARE NECESSARILY GOING TO BE COMING INTO THE SESSION AND SO YOU HAVE TO START WORK VERY QUICKLY. ONE OF THE THINGS THAT PERHAPS SLOWED US DOWN AT THE BEGINNING OF THE YEAR IS THE FACT THAT IN THE HOUSE 40 OF OUR MEMBERS ARE BRAND NEW. YOU KNOW WHAT, IT'S THOSE BRAND-NEW MEMBERS THAT HAVE HELPED FORCE SOME OF THESE THINGS TO BE CONSIDERED, FOR INSTANCE, THE PROPERTY TAX REFORM LEGISLATION. WE'VE GOT A LOT OF NEW MEMBERS THAT HAVEN'T BEEN AFRAID TO TRY ANYTHING, TO EXPLORE IDEAS THAT HAVEN'T BEEN EXPLORED BEFORE. SO WE'VE BEEN ABLE TO, I THINK, CONSIDER SOME ISSUES THAT IN THE PAST PEOPLE SAID, "OH, YOU CAN'T DO IT. IT'S TOO DIFFICULT. YOU'RE NEVER GOING TO GET IT DONE." THAT ATTITUDE HASN'T BEEN PREVALENT IN THE HOUSE THIS YEAR. IT'S BEEN KIND OF REFRESHING.

Borg: BUT YOU'RE THE ONE THAT MOVES THE CHECKERS.

Rants: THAT'S RIGHT. WE'RE MOVING THEM ACROSS THE BOARD.

Borg: WOULD YOU HAVE DONE SOMETHING DIFFERENTLY NOW THAT YOU LOOK BACK? YOU HAD A HEFTY AGENDA. SHOULD IT HAVE BEEN DONE DIFFERENTLY?

Rants: YOU KNOW, HINDSIGHT IS 20/20, DEAN. I DON'T KNOW THAT -- I DON'T KNOW WHAT I WOULD HAVE DONE DIFFERENTLY AT THIS STAGE OF THE GAME. EARLIER ON IN JANUARY, PERHAPS ACCELERATE SOME OF THE DISCUSSIONS ON REGULATORY REFORM, PERHAPS THE PROPERTY TAX PIECE. BUT AT THE SAME TIME, THE PROPERTY TAX PIECE WE HAVE HAD OUT IN THE PUBLIC FOR THE LAST SIX WEEKS. WE HAD A LOT OF PUBLIC MEETINGS AND PUBLIC TALK ABOUT IT. WE MOVED IT FORWARD TONIGHT -- OR LAST NIGHT. AND WE HOPE THE SENATE WILL CERTAINLY TAKE A LOOK AT THAT. I THINK IOWANS SHOULD EXPECT THEM TO TAKE A LOOK AT IT.

Glover: LET'S TAKE A LOOK AT SOME OF THESE ISSUES THAT YOU TALKED ABOUT. THE IOWA VALUES FUND THAT WE'VE BANDIED ABOUT OUT HERE IS A PROPOSAL FROM THE GOVERNOR. HE ASKED YOU TO SPEND $500 MILLION OVER TEN YEARS TO BUILD THE INFRASTRUCTURE NEEDED TO LURE THE BIOTECH INDUSTRY TO IOWA. THERE HAVE BEEN VARIOUS PROPOSALS FLOATING AROUND THE LEGISLATURE TO PUT SOME KIND OF A SPIN ON THAT. WHERE DOES THAT STAND?

Rants: RIGHT NOW WE BELIEVE WE HAVE THE VOTES IN THE HOUSE TO PASS THAT PIECE OF LEGISLATION, BUT ONE OF THE THINGS WE WANT TO IRON OUT FIRST BEFORE WE DO THAT IS A REGULATORY REFORM BILL, AND I THINK WE'RE VERY CLOSE TO GETTING THAT ACCOMPLISHED. ONCE THAT IS DONE, THEN WE TAKE THAT NEXT STEP AND BEGIN DEBATE ON THE VALUES FUND. ONE OF THE HOLDUPS ON THAT HAS ALWAYS BEEN THE ISSUE OF HOW YOU FINANCE IT. THE GOVERNOR PROPOSED THAT ON THE FIRST DAY OF THE SESSION, BUT HE DIDN'T LAY OUT A FINANCING MECHANISM, SO WE SPENT A LOT OF TIME TRYING TO IDENTIFY THAT. WHAT WE'RE GOING TO DO IS BEGIN TO USE THE FIRST $60 MILLION IN GAMBLING REVENUE TO FINANCE THAT.

Glover: IS THAT THE MOST LIKELY FINANCING? SOME HAVE SUGGESTED THE CIGARETTE TAX.

Rants: THAT IS. THAT IS, BECAUSE YOU CAN BOND AGAINST THAT. IT'S A VERY RELIABLE SOURCE. THE FIRST $60 MILLION, WE'VE GOT A HISTORY OF OVER FIFTEEN YEARS IN THIS STATE LOOKING AT THAT, SO YOU CAN BOND AGAINST THAT REVENUE TODAY. SOME OF THE OTHER DISCUSSIONS, WHAT GOES IN THAT FUND AND OUT OF THAT FUND. ONE OF THE THINGS WE TRIED TO DO WAS TO CREATE -- YOU KNOW, WE GOT THE SESSION OFF TO A START IN AN ATTITUDE OF BIPARTISANSHIP, AND WE'VE TRIED VERY HARD TO KEEP THAT ATTITUDE GOING. SO WE'VE HAD DEMOCRATS AS WELL AS REPUBLICANS, PEOPLE IN THE EXECUTIVE BRANCH AND THE LEGISLATIVE BRANCH WORKING TOGETHER TO DO THAT. SOMETIMES THAT TAKES A LITTLE BIT LONGER TO IRON SOME OF THOSE THINGS OUT. THERE'S A LITTLE BIT MORE GIVE AND TAKE. THAT BILL MAY YET GO THROUGH SOME CHANGES BEFORE IT FINALLY CLEARS THE FLOOR OF THE HOUSE. ONE OF THE THINGS THAT WE ADDED THAT THE GOVERNOR DID NOT ADD IS A LOOK AT THE ISSUE OF SCHOOL INFRASTRUCTURE. SO THAT IS PART OF IT. BUT I THINK WE'VE GOT THE VOTES AND WE'LL GET THAT MOVED FORWARD NEXT WEEK.

Glover: LET'S PLAY A WHAT-IF GAME. YOU'VE GOT A WEEK LEFT. WHAT IF THIS DOESN'T MAKE IT ALL THE WAY THROUGH THE HOUSE AND ALL THE WAY THROUGH THE SENATE BEFORE YOU ADJOURN NEXT WEEK? DO YOU ANTICIPATE BEING CALLED BACK? IT IS THE GOVERNOR'S CENTRAL PRIORITY.

Rants: I IMAGINE THAT'S A DISTINCT POSSIBILITY. I CANNOT CONTROL WHAT THE SENATE DOES. I AM SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE, NOT THE SENATE. THEY ONLY HAVE THAT IN NEBRASKA. BUT WE'RE GOING TO LINE UP THE CHECKERS, SO TO SPEAK, AND MAKE SURE THAT WE GET THE THINGS DONE THAT WE BELIEVE MOVES IOWA FORWARD. IF WE GET AN AGREEMENT ON THE REGULATORY REFORM BILL -- I THINK THE PROPERTY TAX BILL IS A GOOD BILL THAT -- I DON'T KNOW WHY THEY WOULDN'T MOVED FORWARD WITH THAT PARTICULAR PIECE OF LEGISLATION.

Yepsen: MR. SPEAKER, I WANT A FOLLOW UP QUESTION ON THIS VALUES FUN. THERE'S BEEN SOME TALK ABOUT PAYING FOR IT BY TAXING INTERNET SALES. IS THAT PART OF THE DEAL?

Rants: THAT IS PART OF HOW YOU REPLACE THE $60 MILLION IN GAMBLING PROCEEDS. IT'S A QUESTION -- IT'S NOT JUST INTERNET SALES, THOUGH, DAVID. IT'S A QUESTION OF REMOTE SALES. STATES AND LOCAL GOVERNMENTS FOR YEARS HAVE BEGUN TO SEE AN EROSION IN THEIR TAX BASE DUE TO REMOTE SALES. OUR ECONOMY IS CHANGING. WE'RE MORE OF A GLOBAL MARKETPLACE. YOU DON'T JUST GO DOWN TO THE CORNER RETAILER OR YOUR MAIN STREET RETAILER TO BUY YOUR CLOTHES OR YOUR BOOKS OR YOUR COMPUTERS, WHATEVER ELSE. PEOPLE ARE LOOKING OTHER PLACES, OTHER OPTIONS. WHAT THAT DOES IS IT CREATES AN UNFAIR PLAYING FIELD BETWEEN OUR MAIN STREET MERCHANTS AND THE OUT-OF-STATE LARGER CORPORATE MERCHANTS. WHAT WE'RE TRYING TO DO IS LEVEL THAT. THE FACT OF THE MATTER IS, IS THAT RIGHT NOW THE BURDEN FOR PAYING THOSE SALES TAXES IS ON THE IOWA CONSUMER. AND I KNOW SOME PEOPLE WHO HAVE ACTUALLY GOTTEN THE FORMS FROM THE DEPARTMENT OF REVENUE AND FINANCE AND SENT IN THAT USE OR SALES TAX THAT IS DUE TO THE STATE.

Yepsen: THAT'S WHY YOU'RE SAYING IT'S NOT A TAX INCREASE.

Rants: IT'S NOT A TAX INCREASE. YOU HAVE A DUTY TO PAY THAT TAX RIGHT NOW. AND IN FACT, DAVID, SOME REMOTE SELLERS DO COLLECT THAT TAX RIGHT NOW. I'LL GIVE YOU AN EXAMPLE. PEOPLE IN MY DISTRICT WORK AT GATEWAY COMPUTERS. IT HAPPENS TO BE ACROSS THE RIVER. BUT BECAUSE GATEWAY HAS POINTS OF PRESENCE AROUND THE COUNTRY, WHEN YOU ORDER ONE OF THOSE COMPUTERS ON LINE, YOU'RE GOING TO PAY THAT SALES TAX. IF YOU ORDER A COMPUTER FROM DELL, YOU'RE NOT. WHERE'S THE FAIRNESS IN THAT?

Yepsen: MIKE MENTIONED THE TROUBLE THIS IS HAVING IN THE SENATE. THE OBJECTION THERE IS -- AND WE BROUGHT THIS UP WITH THE GOVERNOR LAST WEEK -- THAT YOU'RE RAISING TAXES TO BORROW MONEY SO GOVERNMENT CAN PICK WINNERS AND LOSERS. NOW, THOSE AREN'T EXACTLY REPUBLICAN CONCEPTS, SO WHY DO YOU THINK IT'S A GOOD IDEA?

Rants: WHICH PART OF THAT?

Yepsen: WELL, TAKE ALL THREE.

Rants: I MEAN, YOU LOOK AT THE --

Yepsen: YOU'RE TAKING MORE MONEY FROM THE TAXPAYERS --

Rants: LET'S START WITH THE VALUES FUND --

Yepsen: YOU'RE INCURRING $810 MILLION IN DEBT.

Rants: OKAY, LET'S START THERE. LET'S TALK ABOUT THE ISSUE OF DEBT AND WHETHER OR NOT WE SHOULD USE, BASICALLY, 1.5 PERCENT OF OUR GENERAL FUND. SHOULD WE RISK 1.5 PERCENT OF THE STATE'S GENERAL FUND IN INVESTING IN OUR FUTURE? I WOULD BET MOST PEOPLE -- MOST OF YOU AND PEOPLE WATCHING THE SHOW PUT SOME OF THEIR OWN PERSONAL SAVINGS AT RISK OR THEIR PERSONAL INCOME AT RISK TO SET ASIDE FOR THE FUTURE TO TRY AND GROW A POT OF MONEY THAT THEY'RE GOING TO BE ABLE TO RETIRE ON TO PROVIDE FOR THEM IN THEIR LONG TERM. THE FACT OF THE MATTER IS, OVER THE YEARS IOWA HAS CUT BACK ON OUR ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT EFFORTS. WE HAVE SHORTCHANGED OUR WORK FORCE DEVELOPMENT EFFORTS AND OUR JOB TRAINING. BUDGET CONSTRAINTS HAVE CAUSED US TO DO THAT. THE FACT IS WE'RE TALKING ABOUT PUTTING AT RISK 1.5 PERCENT OF OUR GENERAL FUND TO TRY AND CREATE AN ENVIRONMENT TO EMPLOY OUR KIDS. WE ALL TALK ABOUT THE DEMOGRAPHICS OF THIS STATE. YOU'VE GOT MORE DEATHS IN IOWA THAN BIRTHS IN MOST OF OUR COUNTIES. WE'RE DOING A GREAT JOB OF EDUCATING 10,000 YOUNG PEOPLE EVERY YEAR TO LEAVE THE STATE AND GO WORK SOMEPLACE ELSE, FOR SOMEBODY ELSE. IF WE DON'T START TAKING A FEW CHANCES AND TAKING A FEW RISKS TO PROVIDE OUR KIDS SOME OPPORTUNITY, TO PROVIDE SOME JOBS AND SOME HOPE TO PEOPLE WHO ARE LOSING THEIR JOBS RIGHT NOW IN THE SOFT ECONOMY -- NOW, WHAT'S OUR NUMBER ONE INDUSTRY GOING TO BE IN IOWA TEN YEARS FROM NOW? THE NURSING HOME INDUSTRY? NO DISRESPECT TO THOSE FOLKS, BUT THE FACT IS WE OUGHT TO EXPECT MORE IN THIS STATE. BIOTECHNOLOGY IS AN EXAMPLE OF WHAT WE'RE TALKING ABOUT. IT'S NOT THE ONLY EXAMPLE. BUT IF WE CAN'T INVEST IN OURSELVES AND TRY AND MARRY THE EXPERTISE THAT WE HAVE AT A PLACE LIKE IOWA STATE UNIVERSITY IN PLANT AND ANIMAL SCIENCES WITH THE EXPERTISE THAT WE HAVE AT THE UNIVERSITY OF IOWA IN PHARMACOLOGY AND MEDICINE AND PULL THAT TOGETHER TO REALLY BECOME THE BIOTECH CAPITAL OF THE WORLD, WHAT IS OUR GROWTH INDUSTRY GOING TO BE, WHAT IS OUR FUTURE FOR THE STATE?

Borg: I'D LIKE TO ASK YOU ABOUT -- YOU'RE ALSO TRYING TO IMPROVE, AS REPUBLICANS, YOU SAY, THE BUSINESS CLIMATE IN IOWA BY CHANGING A NUMBER OF LAWS. I THINK IT'S 28 ALL IN ONE PACKAGE THAT REALLY GOVERNS THE WAY THAT BUSINESS -- GO AHEAD.

Rants: WELL, WE'VE NARROWED THAT DOWN, DEAN. WE'RE FOCUSED -- ON THE HOUSE SIDE, WE HAVE AN AMENDMENT THAT WE WILL BE OFFERING THAT WE BELIEVE, WE HOPE, WILL GET GOVERNOR'S SIGNATURE WHEN IT'S ALL SAID AND DONE. AND WE'RE FOCUSED IN ON A COUPLE AREAS, ONE BEING THE ISSUE OF APPORTIONMENT IN WORKERS COMPENSATION. THIS IS AN ISSUE THAT HAD BEEN THE LAW OF THE LAND FOR YEARS. THE COURTS ISSUED A RULING THAT SORT OF CHANGED THAT. AND BECAUSE OF THAT RULING, THE INSURANCE PREMIUMS FOR BUSINESSES WENT UP 2.5 PERCENT. I BELIEVE WE CAN MAKE THAT CHANGE, HELP BRING THAT COST OF INSURANCE BACK DOWN FOR BUSINESSES. WE HAVE REACHED AN AGREEMENT, WE BELIEVE, WITH THE GOVERNOR TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT INDOOR AIR QUALITY. THE DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES HAS BEEN DRAGGING THEIR FEET FOR SEVERAL YEARS ON SOME INDOOR AIR QUALITY RULES AND HAVEN'T PROMULGATED THEM. IF THEY'LL PROMULGATE THOSE RULES, THAT IS ADDRESSED IN THAT PARTICULAR PIECE OF LEGISLATION. WE'RE LOOKING AT SOME THINGS HAVING TO DO WITH FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS. WE HAVE A NUMBER OF BANKS AND LENDING INSTITUTIONS. THEY'RE STARTING TO SET UP THEIR OPERATIONS IN SOUTH DAKOTA AND OTHER STATES. THEY'RE BECOMING FEDERALLY CHARTERED. WE DON'T WANT TO LOSE THE FINANCIAL INDUSTRY IN THIS STATE TO SOUTH DAKOTA, SO WE'VE GOT A PIECE THAT ADDRESSES THAT. WE'VE GOT A NUMBER OF PIECES INVOLVING TORT REFORM, A DEFINITION OF MALICE, AS FAR AS IS IT GOES TO PUNITIVE DAMAGES, THAT WE BELIEVE WOULD CREATE A BETTER CLIMATE IN THIS STATE AS FAR AS TORT REFORM GOES. SO WE'RE TAKING THAT 28 DIFFERENT PIECES IN THE SENATE FILE AND WE'RE NARROWING IT DOWN TO, WE BELIEVE, A HALF A DOZEN REALLY IMPORTANT PIECES, PRIORITIZING, IF YOU WILL, THAT WE BELIEVE WE CAN GET THE GOVERNOR'S SIGNATURE ON -- ALTHOUGH WE'RE STILL NEGOTIATING AS OF TODAY -- AND THAT WILL MAKE A DIFFERENCE, A REAL DIFFERENCE IN BUSINESS CLIMATE TO HELP CONTROL THE COST THAT BUSINESSES AND MANUFACTURERS ARE HAVING TO DEAL WITH TODAY.

Glover: I'D LIKE TO GO THROUGH A COUPLE MORE OF THESE ISSUES, BUT BEFORE I DO, I'D LIKE YOU TO STEP BACK AND LOOK AT THE BIG PICTURE. AS YOU'VE SAID, THERE SEEMS TO BE SOME DIFFERENCES BETWEEN HOW YOU'RE APPROACHING THINGS IN THE HOUSE AND HOW THE SENATE APPEARS TO BE APPROACHING THINGS. WHAT DO YOU THINK THE ODDS ARE THAT YOU'RE NOT ONLY GOING TO BE ABLE TO WORK THINGS OUT WITH THE GOVERNOR BUT YOU'RE GOING TO BE ABLE TO WORK THINGS OUT WITH THE SENATE AND THESE THINGS ARE ACTUALLY GOING TO PASS? WHAT ARE THE CHANCES?

Rants: OH, WE'LL GET THEM WORKED OUT. I MEAN WE'LL EVENTUALLY SIT DOWN AROUND THE TABLE. I MEAN I KNOW THAT A REGULATORY REFORM BILL IS IMPORTANT TO THE SENATE. THEY STARTED THAT BILL. I DON'T KNOW WHY THAT THEY WOULD NOT CONSIDER THE ITEMS THAT WE'RE PUTTING FORWARD. IT CERTAINLY MAKES A BIG DIFFERENCE IN IOWA'S BUSINESS CLIMATE. IF WE CAN REACH AGREEMENT WITH THE GOVERNOR -- AND YOU'VE GOT MANUFACTURERS AND BUSINESS LEADERS AND BANKERS AROUND THE STATE SAYING, "THIS IS GOOD FOR IOWA, WE NEED TO HAVE THIS DONE TODAY." I WOULD HOPE THE SENATE WOULD PAY ATTENTION TO THAT.

Glover: AND YOU PASSED THE PROPERTY TAX BILL LAST WEEK. WHAT DOES THAT PROPERTY TAX BILL DO?

Rants: THAT PROPERTY TAX BILL IS PUTTING US ON A COURSE TO CHANGE THE WAY WE VALUE PROPERTY IN IOWA. RIGHT NOW WE HAVE A SYSTEM THAT BASICALLY PUTS THE POWER TO TAX IN THE HANDS OF ASSESSORS. IT PUTS IT ON AUTOMATIC PILOT. YOU GET THIS GIANT ALGEBRAIC EQUATION THAT NOBODY CAN EXPLAIN -- AND I CERTAINLY CAN'T EXPLAIN IT ON THIS SHOW IN THE TIME WE HAVE LEFT -- HOW WE VALUE PROPERTY. AND WHAT IT MEANS IS YOU HAVE AUTOMATIC INCREASES EVERY YEAR WITH COUNTIES AND CITIES NOT CHANGING THEIR LEVY RATES BUT BECAUSE THE VALUATION CHANGED ON MY HOME OR ON MY BUSINESS. WHAT WE'RE DOING IS WE WANT TO MOVE TO A SYSTEM WHERE YOU HAVE VALUATION THAT IS -- THAT IT'S MORE TRANSPARENT, THE TAXPAYER UNDERSTANDS WHAT THEY'RE PAYING, IT IS BASED ON YOUR SQUARE FOOTAGE SO IT IS MORE CONSTANT. IT DOES NOT CHANGE UNLESS YOU ADD SQUARE FOOTAGE OR YOU THEN SELL THAT PARTICULAR PIECE OF PROPERTY AND YOU NOW REESTABLISH A MARKET VALUE FOR THAT SQUARE FOOTAGE.

Glover: AND LOCAL OFFICIALS WILL SAY --

Rants: LOCAL OFFICIALS WILL HAVE TO SET THE LEVY RATE. DAVID'S PAPER EDITORIALIZED ON THIS, AND WHAT THEY SAID -- AND THEY'RE PROPERTY RIGHT -- IS THEY SAID THAT IOWANS WILL BE ABLE TO GO TO THEIR CITY COUNCIL MEETINGS WITH THEIR CALCULATORS IN HAND AND HOLD THEIR ELECTED OFFICIALS ACCOUNTABLE FOR THE TAXES. WHAT'S WRONG WITH THAT?

Glover: AND LOCAL OFFICIALS WILL SAY THAT WHAT THAT DOES IS THAT ROBS THEM OF THE ABILITY TO ADJUST THE NATURAL INCREASES IN THE COST OF DOING BUSINESS.

Rants: BUT THEY -- LOCAL OFFICIALS WILL HAVE GROWTH. IT WILL BE TRUE GROWTH. TRUE GROWTH IN YOUR COMMUNITY THROUGH NEW BUSINESSES OR NEW HOMES, NEW PROPERTY THAT'S ACTUALLY ADDED TO THE ROLLS IS TRUE GROWTH. AND WHAT THIS WILL DO IS THEY MIGHT HAVE TO ACTUALLY CHANGE THEIR LEVY RATES INSTEAD OF LOOKING AT JUST THE VALUATIONS. IT WILL ALSO CONTROL THE RISE AND THE COST OF PROPERTY TAXES, WHICH IS A BIG IMPEDIMENT TO BOTH INDIVIDUALS AND TO BUSINESSES WORKING AND LIVING IN THIS STATE.

Yepsen: MR. SPEAKER, SOME PEOPLE WOULD SAY IT REALLY IS A NEW DAY IN IOWA WHEN A REPUBLICAN SPEAKER IS AGREEING WITH THE EDITORIAL WRITERS OF "THE DES MOINES REGISTER."

Rants: I AGREED WITH THAT PART OF THE EDITORIAL. I DIDN'T AGREE WITH THE LAST PART OF THE EDITORIAL.

Yepsen: MY QUESTION IS GOING BACK TO THIS REGULATORY REFORM STUFF. THE CRITICS OF THESE THINGS SAY THESE ARE ANTI-WORKER, THAT YOU'RE HURTING LITTLE PEOPLE WHEN YOU PASS THINGS LIKE YOU JUST MENTIONED. HOW DO YOU RESPOND TO THAT?

Rants: I COMPLETELY DISAGREE. WHAT WE'RE DOING IS WE'RE TRYING TO CREATE A CLIMATE THAT BUSINESSES CAN EXIST. IF BUSINESSES DON'T EXIST IN THIS STATE, YOU DON'T HAVE ANY WORKERS IN THE STATE. AND UNFORTUNATELY, THAT'S THE TREND LINE THAT WE'RE ON RIGHT NOW. AND WE ARE IN A GLOBAL MARKETPLACE. WE HAVE TO REALIZE THAT. WE HAVE GOT TO GET BEYOND JUST SAYING THAT IT'S SIOUX CITY AGAINST DES MOINES OR IT'S CEDAR RAPIDS AGAINST WATERLOO. FOR CRYING OUT LOUD, IT'S ALL OF US. IT'S ALL OF US AS A STATE TOGETHER AND WE'RE IN A GLOBAL MARKETPLACE NOW AND WE HAVE TO ADAPT AND CHANGE TO THAT.

Yepsen: MR. SPEAKER, WE'VE MENTIONED THE VALUES FUND. WE'VE MENTIONED REGULATORY REFORM. WE'VE MENTIONED PROPERTY TAX REFORM. THE FOURTH LEG OF THE STOOL UP THERE IS INCOME TAX REFORM. NOW, I KNOW THE SENATE IS WORKING ON -- OR TRYING TO WORK ON LEGISLATION DEALING WITH THE INCOME TAX. WHERE DO THOSE ISSUES STAND. WHAT IS THE PROSPECT FOR INCOME TAX LAW CHANGES?

Rants: THAT'S A QUESTION BETTER ASKED TO THE SENATORS THAN TO ME. ONE OF THE PROBLEMS, I THINK, THAT THE SENATE IS HAVING WITH THE INCOME TAX BILL IS THEY ARE TRYING TO CREATE A BALANCE BETWEEN ELECTING FEDERAL DEDUCTIBILITY -- EXCUSE ME, REMOVING FEDERAL DEDUCTIBILITY, THE ABILITY TO DEDUCT THE TAXES YOU PAID TO THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT OFF YOUR INCOME TAXES HERE IN IOWA, WHICH IS THE LARGEST DEDUCTION PEOPLE HAVE; AND THE SORT OF OFFSETS YOU HAVE TO HAVE, WHETHER IT BE A CIGARETTE TAX OR SOMETHING LIKE THAT, TO TRY TO MAKE IT A REVENUE NEUTRAL PROPOSAL. ONE OF THE CONCERNS THAT A LOT OF PEOPLE HAVE IS THAT IF YOU ELIMINATE THE DEDUCTIONS AND YOU DON'T HAVE IN PLACE A CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT TO MAKE IT MORE DIFFICULT TO RAISE TAXES, WE'LL HAVE WHAT HAPPENED, YOU KNOW, AT THE FEDERAL LEVEL WHERE THEY ELIMINATED THE DEDUCTIONS, LOWERED THE RATES, AND EVENTUALLY THOSE RATES CREPT BACK UP. WHAT WE'VE BEEN ADVOCATING IN THE HOUSE IS THAT WE START WITH A PROCESS WHERE YOU PASS THE CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT AND THEN YOU LOOK AT WHAT YOU DO TO BRING DOWN THOSE RATES, WHETHER IT BE ELIMINATING DEDUCTIONS OR WHATEVER, SO THAT THE END OF THE DAY THE TAXPAYER HAS SOME SURETY THAT THEIR TAXES JUST WON'T CREEP RIGHT BACK UP THERE.

Yepsen: WHAT DO YOU SAY TO -- PROTECTING FEDERAL DEDUCTIBILITY HAS BEEN AN ARTICLE OF FAITH IN THE REPUBLICAN PARTY FOR A LONG TIME. SO WHAT DO YOU SAY TO REPUBLICANS WHO ARE SAYING WE OUGHT TO KEEP OUR PROMISES, WE OUGHT TO PROTECT FEDERAL DEDUCTIBILITY? WHY IS IT A GOOD IDEA TO GET RID OF IT?

Rants: WELL, I'M NOT IN THE SENATE. I'M NOT THE ONE WHO'S ADVOCATING THAT THEY DO THAT RIGHT NOW, DAVID.

Yepsen: YOU ARE A REPUBLICAN LEADER IN THE HOUSE.

Rants: I UNDERSTAND THAT. AND THERE'S A DIFFERENCE RIGHT NOW BETWEEN THE HOUSE AND THE SENATE ON THAT PARTICULAR ISSUE, AND SO FAR WE HAVEN'T BEEN ABLE TO RESOLVE IT.

Glover: ONE OF THE THINGS THAT -- OF THE THINGS WE'VE TALKED ABOUT NOW -- PROPERTY TAXES, INCOME TAXES, THE IOWA VALUES FUND -- ARE THINGS THAT YOU'D LIKE TO DO. THERE'S SOMETHING YOU HAVE TO DO, AND IT'S CALLED BALANCING THE BUDGET.

Rants: THAT'S RIGHT.

Glover: AND THE LEGISLATURE THIS WEEK -- OR THIS PAST WEEK HAS MOVED TO CUT ABOUT $128 MILLION OUT OF STATE SPENDING. WHAT ARE THE PROSPECTS THAT'S GOING TO GET THROUGH, AND DO YOU HAVE SOME KIND OF AN AGREEMENT WITH THE GOVERNOR THAT HE'LL SIGN THAT?

Rants: A LOT OF -- I CERTAINLY HOPE THE GOVERNOR WILL SIGN IT. MOST OF THE ITEMS IN THAT PARTICULAR CUT COME FROM THE GOVERNOR'S REINVENTION SAVINGS TEAM, PSG, THE MINNESOTA CONSULTANTS THE GOVERNOR HIRED PRIOR TO THE ADVANCE OF THE LEGISLATIVE SESSION. THESE ARE IN FACT THEIR RECOMMENDATIONS. I'M ASSUMING -- I'M TAKING GREAT FAITH IN THE FACT THAT THE GOVERNOR WILL SUPPORT THE PROPOSALS THAT HE AND HIS TEAM HAVE PUT FORWARD.

Glover: YOU'RE ABOUT $40 MILLION OVER HIS PROPOSAL.

Rants: I UNDERSTAND THAT. WE'VE ADDED SOME TO THAT. BUT AT THE SAME TIME, THERE AREN'T A LOT OF OTHER CHOICES OUT THERE. THE PARTS THAT ARE CAUSING THE MOST CONTROVERSY THAT INVOLVE LOCAL GOVERNMENTS, THOSE ITEMS DO COME FROM THE GOVERNOR'S PROPOSAL. THE AEA PROPOSAL IS SOMETHING THAT REPUBLICANS IN THE LEGISLATURE LAID ON THE TABLE.

Glover: IF I'M A MAYOR, SHOULDN'T I BE A LITTLE UNHAPPY WITH THIS LEGISLATURE? YOU'RE WHACKING AWAY AT MY PROPERTY TAX BASE, AND YOU'RE SLASHING ABOUT $70 MILLION IN STATE PROGRAMS FOR LOCAL GOVERNMENTS.

Rants: ONE OF THE THINGS THAT HAS CAUSED IOWA A GREAT DEAL OF DIFFICULTY IN THE BUDGET IS THE FACT THAT 65 PERCENT OF OUR GENERAL FUND IS ASSISTANCE TO LOCAL GOVERNMENTS, WHETHER IT BE CITIES, WHETHER IT BE COUNTIES, WHETHER IT BE SCHOOL DISTRICTS. I WOULD SUBMIT TO YOU THAT THAT IS A RATIO THAT CANNOT CONTINUE TO EXIST. YOU KNOW, PEOPLE TALK ALL THE TIME ABOUT THE FACT THAT WE'VE GOT 99 COUNTIES IN IOWA AND ISN'T THAT TOO MANY COUNTIES. I'D SUBMIT TO YOU MAYBE 99 LOCAL GOVERNMENTS IS THE RIGHT NUMBER. THE FACT IS WE'VE GOT A THOUSAND LOCAL GOVERNMENTS IN IOWA, BETWEEN CITIES AND COUNTIES AND TOWNSHIPS. OUR POPULATION BASE WON'T SUPPORT THAT ANYMORE. WE ARE GOING TO HAVE TO MAKE SOME CHANGES. WE'RE GOING TO HAVE TO START TALKING ABOUT SHARING. PEOPLE TALK ALL THE TIME ABOUT, GEES, WHY DON'T SCHOOLS CONSOLIDATE, WHY DON'T THEY START SHARING SERVICES. WE DON'T SPEND A LOT OF TIME TALKING ABOUT WHY DON'T CITIES AND COUNTIES START TALKING ABOUT SHARING SERVICES AND CONSOLIDATE. IT'S A DIFFICULT CHOICE THAT WE'RE FORCED WITH, BUT WE HAVE BASICALLY TWO CHOICES AT THIS STAGE OF THE GAME IN FRONT OF US. ONE IS TO ADOPT THE PROPOSAL THAT THE GOVERNOR LAID BEFORE US THAT DOES CUT SOME MONEY, BASICALLY 2 PERCENT FROM CITIES AND COUNTIES, OR WE'RE LOOKING AT AN ACROSS-THE-BOARD CUT, WHICH WOULD MEAN A 3-PERCENT CUT TO OUR SCHOOL DISTRICTS. SCHOOLS HAVE BORNE A LOT OF THE CUTS FOR THE LAST COUPLE YEARS. I DON'T THINK THAT THE SCHOOL SHOULD HAVE TO TAKE ANOTHER CUT THIS YEAR. IT'S NOT A GOOD SITUATION.

Yepsen: MR. SPEAKER, WE'VE ONLY GOT A COUPLE MINUTES LEFT, AND WE HAVE A FEW MORE ISSUES HERE. ONE IS AIR QUALITY STANDARDS. THE LEGISLATURE IS EXERCISING ITS AUTHORITY OVER REGULATIONS TO ROLL BACK AIR QUALITY RULES THAT THE DNR AND EPA PROMULGATED LAST WEEK. WHY ARE YOU DOING THAT? PEOPLE ARE BEING CRITICAL OF THE LEGISLATURE FOR BACKING UP ON AIR QUALITY IN IOWA?

Rants: WELL, WE'RE NOT BACKING UP ON AIR QUALITY IN IOWA. AND IT'S NOT THE EPA. IT'S THE EPC; IT'S THE ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION COMMISSION IN IOWA THAT WE GAVE AUTHORITY LAST YEAR WHEN WE CREATED THE NEW LIVESTOCK CONFINEMENT FACILITY REGULATIONS. WE GAVE THEM AUTHORITY TO REGULATE AIR QUALITY AS IT PERTAINS TO THOSE LIVESTOCK OPERATIONS. THEY HAVE NOW ADOPTED RULES THAT GO BEYOND LIVESTOCK AND INCLUDE ALL BUSINESS AND INDUSTRY. AND WHAT THEY HAVE HAVE DONE -- AND THIS THE POSTER CHILD FOR THE THE NEED TO REFORM OUR REGULATORY CLIMATE IN IOWA -- THEY HAVE NOW ADOPTED RULES THAT WOULD BASICALLY SHUDDER A LOT OF BUSINESSES IN THIS STATE. THEY HAVE ADOPTED RULES THAT I BELIEVE AREN'T NECESSARILY BASED ON SOUND SCIENCE. THEY'LL HOLD UP THE PROFESSORS AT THE UNIVERSITY OF IOWA THAT SAY THIS IS A GOOD THING. AND YOU TURN TO OUR OTHER STATE UNIVERSITY, IOWA STATE UNIVERSITY, AND THEY SAY, NO, WE'VE GOT CONCERNS ABOUT THE WAY THEY'RE TRYING TO IMPLEMENT THOSE STANDARDS. THEY'RE TRYING TO APPLY STANDARDS AT A BUSINESS THAT WERE DESIGNED TO BE MEASURED A MILE AWAY FROM A LIVESTOCK FACILITY AT SOMEBODY'S HOME. THEY'RE ADOPTING STANDARDS THAT SAY, FOR INSTANCE, FOR AMMONIA, THAT YOU CAN ONLY HAVE IN THE AMBIENT AIR OUTSIDE THE BUILDING 150 PARTS PER BILLION. THE U.S. OSHA SAYS THAT ON INDOOR AIR, YOU CAN HAVE 50,000 PARTS PER BILLION. SO YOU BETTER NOT OPEN A BOTTLE OF WINDEX OUTSIDE YOUR HOUSE THIS WEEKEND WHEN YOU'RE DOING YOUR SPRING CLEANING, BECAUSE YOU'VE JUST VIOLATED THOSE RULES. YOU CAN'T DO IT.

Glover: LET'S MOVE ONTO ANOTHER ISSUE THAT THIS LEGISLATURE HAS ALREADY DEALT WITH AND IT'S AWAITING THE GOVERNOR'S ACTION, AND THAT'S AN ELECTION REFORM BILL. YOU'RE ELIGIBLE FOR ABOUT $30 MILLION IN FEDERAL MONEY TO UPGRADE YOUR ELECTIONS SYSTEMS IN THE STATE. TO GET IT, YOU'VE GOT TO ENACT SOME LEGISLATION. IN THAT LEGISLATION, THE LEGISLATURE DID A LOT OF THINGS LIKE TIGHTEN RULES FOR ABSENTEE VOTING, SHORTENING VOTING HOURS, REQUIRING IDs AT THE POLLS. DO YOU ANTICIPATE THE GOVERNOR WILL VETO THAT? AND IF SO, WHAT DO YOU DO?

Rants: I HOPE THE GOVERNOR WILL SIGN IT. IF WE DON'T HAVE SOME RESOLUTION ON THIS ISSUE, WE'RE NOT ABOUT TO APPROPRIATE MONEY FOR THE SECRETARY OF STATE WITHOUT THE LAW ON HOW IT'S GOING TO BE SPENT AND HOW IT'S GOING TO BE ADMINISTERED. THERE HAS TO BE SOME RESOLUTION TO THIS ISSUE BEFORE THAT THE MONEY GETS APPROPRIATED. THE LEGISLATURE IS NOT GOING TO GIVE UP ITS OVERSIGHT OVER THOSE DOLLARS.

Glover: WHAT DO YOU SAY TO CRITICS WHO SAY YOU SHOULD HAVE BROKEN IT IN TWO PIECES: ONE, THE KIND OF ELECTION REFORM THINGS; AND THE OTHER, JUST ENABLING LEGISLATION TO GET THE MONEY?

Rants: SOME OF THE THINGS THAT PEOPLE POINT TO THAT THEY DON'T LIKE IN THIS PARTICULAR BILL ARE, IN FACT, REQUIREMENTS OF THE FEDERAL HAV ACT, THE HELP AMERICA VOTE ACT. OTHER PARTS OF THE BILL ARE TO, YOU KNOW, MAKE SURE THAT THERE'S SOME INTEGRITY BEHIND THE BALLOT. ONE OF THE THINGS THAT CAME OUT OF THE LAST ELECTION ARE A LOT OF ALLEGATIONS ABOUT ABUSE AND FRAUD. THAT'S THE KIND OF THING THAT WE'VE NEVER HAD IN IOWA AND WE DON'T WANT TO HAVE IN OUR STATE.

Borg: WE'RE OUT OF TIME. THANK YOU, SPEAKER RANTS --

Rants: ALREADY?

Borg: -- FOR BEING HERE TODAY. YES, WE ARE. ON OUR NEXT EDITION OF "IOWA PRESS," STATEHOUSE REPORTERS AND POLITICAL JOURNALISTS WILL DISCUSS THE 2003 LEGISLATIVE SESSION, FOCUSING ON THE WINNERS AND LOSERS AND THE IMPLICATIONS FOR ALL OF US. YOU MIGHT EVEN HEAR SOME PRESIDENTIAL POLITICAL TALK. NEXT WEEKEND, 6:30 FRIDAY, SUNDAY AT NOON. I HOPE YOU'LL WATCH. I'M DEAN BORG. THANKS FOR JOINING US TODAY.

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