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GOP plan would make it harder to pass tax hikes

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) -- An Iowa House committee considered a proposal Monday to change the state constitution to require all tax hikes to get a three-fifths majority vote in the Legislature, instead of the current simple majority needed.

Rep. Mark Lofgren, a Muscatine Republican who is one of the bill's sponsors, said he wants to make it more difficult for the Legislature to raise taxes, because thinks state taxes are dissuading businesses and people from planting roots in Iowa.

"We know from an economic development point of view that raising taxes can really slow things down," Lofgren said.

But Rep. Tyler Olson, D-Cedar Rapids, said he was concerned that changing the voting rules could make it harder for future legislators to respond to budget matters, like the drop in revenue during the 2008 recession.

"The whole bill limits the Legislature's ability to respond to current budget conditions," Olson said. "If there's one thing we've learned over the last four years it's that things change quickly."

It's unclear if the bill could get enough support in the Democratic-controlled Senate to pass.