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No ‘level of comfort’ yet from House GOP over mental health funding shift

DES MOINES — House Speaker Pat Grassley says House Republicans aren’t philosophically opposed to getting rid of a property tax levy that funds mental health services, they just have unanswered “technical questions” about how the state would manage the system once it’s solely financed with state tax dollars.

There was no debate on the House or Senate floor last week as GOP leaders and Republican Governor Kim Reynolds negotiate in private. “We’re just having those conversations and working through seeing if there is a way to get a level of comfort where we can all be in agreement,” Grassley said early this afternoon in an online news conference.

Grassley is not offering a timeline for when this dispute might be ironed out among Republicans in the House and Senate, but he said having the state take over financial responsibility for the mental health system is “not as simple” as eliminating a property tax levy.

“Any time you have a bill that reduces the tax burden on Iowans, I think fundamentally as Republicans we’re going to be coming from a similar place,” Grassley said, “but obviously what the language looks like and the details are important as well.”

Grassley said Governor Reynolds “caught the attention” of House Republicans with some of the details she outlined earlier this month, but he described that as only a “first step” to finding a final agreement between Republicans in the House and Senate.

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