The Iowa Senate voted on its last bill of the legislative session just a few minutes before midnight Wednesday, nearly three weeks after the legislative session was due to end.
Now it’s all up to the House. With four bills left, they plan to reconvene Thursday at 9 a.m.
The House wasted no time in passing the education reform bill Wednesday evening; 91 to zero.
“I think schools need their money and this is holding them hostage. We need to do this,” said Rep. Sharon Steckman.
The Senate quickly followed suit; 40 to 10.
Sen. Matt McCoy described it as “a historic tax cut.” Adding, “Obviously we’ve been talking about cutting our commercial property taxes for more than 30 years.”
“I think it’s something that we needed to get through and get done. We’re winding down the session. We’re coming down to hopefully the last hours of the session,” said a hopeful Sen. Jerry Behn.
At least, that’s what they thought.
But after the Senate passed a long awaited bill, the property tax reform bill, the momentum in the House slowed down.
Representatives spent the next 6 hours going in and out of caucus, while the Senate continued to push forward on bill, after bill.
“Republicans and democrats joined hands and said we’re not going to be like Washington. We’re not broken here in Iowa and we are going to move this state forward,” said Sen. McCoy.
While the Senate voted on and passed their last issue, the health and human services budget, the House still had four more bills to go – the health and human services budget, one time money to pay off bonding early, private school tax credit and property tax reform.
The latter had some enthusiastic backing, “I’m really excited about that. That’s something that we’ve been working on for years and years. I’ve been in the legislature since 1996 and this is the first time we really had a chance to make some headway,” said Sen. Behn.
Legislators say they expect Thursday’s session to move quickly when state representatives go back to the Capitol at 9 a.m.
Under the property tax bill that was passed by the Senate 43 to 6, commercial property would be taxed at 90-percent of its value instead of the current 100-percent by 2015.
Supporters say the real winners with this bill would be small business owners. They hope this will show the state is willing to invest in them allowing them to grow, add new employees, and ultimately stay in the state.
Any bills that are passed still need to go to the governor for his signature.