News and Trends
Broadening coalition formed to fund the Outdoor Recreation Trust Fund
(DES MOINES) – A broad spectrum of conservatives, progressives, companies, conservationists, farmers and sportspeople joined together at the banks of the Raccoon River this morning to urge passage of a new sales tax, 3/8 of which would go to fund the Natural Resources and Outdoor Recreation Trust Fund, which has sat empty since its formation with nearly 63% of the vote in the 2010 general election.
The revenue from a new sales tax would be constitutionally required to go to the Natural Resources and Outdoor Recreation Trust Fund, and would provide dedicated, reliable funding for: water quality improvement projects; voluntary, non-regulatory soil conservation projects; enhanced wildlife habitat; outdoor recreation and critically-needed funding for Iowa’s Nutrient Reduction Strategy.
“This trust is a non-regulatory program that provides funding benefitting all Iowans,” said coalition co-chair Jan Glendening, Iowa State Director of the Nature Conservancy. “Anyone who is concerned with the quality of our water and soil is welcome to share their ideas, talents and energy to ensure we have clean natural resources for generations to come.”
The Natural Resources and Outdoor Recreation Trust Fund is an idea that was studied for years and passed overwhelmingly along bipartisan lines (over 90% of the vote) by two consecutive Iowa General Assemblies, prior to being supported by 63% of Iowans in the 2010 election.
A similar fund currently exists in Minnesota and Missouri.
“I believe 2017 is the year for Iowa to take action on our serious water quality and soil erosion issues and the Natural Resources and Outdoor Recreation Trust Fund must be a part of the solution,” said Mark Doll, CEO of Doll Distributing in Council Bluffs. “Iowa is not Washington. Here Republicans, Democrats, farmers and conservationists can sit at a table and solve real problems. I’m incredibly encouraged by the diversity of our organization and truly believe Republicans and Democrats will work together this legislative session to fund the trust fund and begin to address the major environmental and economic challenges related to water quality and soil conservation.”
The Iowa Water & Land Legacy Coalition is not endorsing a specific bill, but rather stressing that any legislative solution debated during the 2017 legislative session include increasing the sales tax to fund the Natural Resources and Outdoor Recreation Trust Fund.
“We Iowans want to develop solutions here at home and don’t want the EPA coming in and mandating one-size-fits-all solutions for us,” said coalition co-chair Tammi Kircher, Chairwoman of Iowa Ducks Unlimited.
Kirk Leeds, CEO of the Iowa Soybean Association, says farmers and land managers have a vested interest in keeping their property healthy and productive as they expand their efforts to feed the world.
“Clean water, healthy soils and enhanced natural spaces are not Democrat or Republican ideas, but rather vitally important pieces of Iowa that are directly tied to our economy and quality of life,” said Leeds. “Future generations of Iowans are counting on us to solve these critically important issues this upcoming legislative session.”
The coalition’s growing list of supporters includes, but is not limited to, the following groups. More coalition partners will be announced as the effort continues to grow:
Conservation Districts of Iowa
Ecosystem Service Exchange
Feed Energy Company
Greater Des Moines Partnership
Iowa Association of County Conservation Boards
Iowa Association of Municipal Utilities
Iowa Bicycle Coalition
Iowa Community Foundations
Iowa Conservation Alliance
Iowa Ducks Unlimited
Iowa Environmental Council
Iowa Interfaith Power & Light
Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation
Iowa Parks Foundation
Iowa Rivers Revival
Iowa Soybean Association
Iowa State Association of Counties
The Nature Conservancy
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