Northwest Iowa — Farmers in our area, and across the state, would pick up the tab for about half the money that would be raised for water quality efforts in the state, if a proposal in the Iowa House becomes law.
Representative Marti Anderson is a Democrat from Des Moines.
Anderson and Democratic Representative Chuck Isenhart of Dubuque both propose using state tax dollars, but they envision having farmers contribute as well. Commodity groups would pass “check-off” referendums, similar to the “check-off” payments participating farmers make today based on the amount of grain or number of livestock they sell.
Isenhart says their plan also calls for creation of a state “Clean Water Commission” to decide how and where to spend the money. It would be structured like the Iowa Transportation Commission, which decides how state gas tax money is spent on roads and bridges. This water quality funding idea is an alternative to Republican Governor Terry Branstad’s plan to extend a sales tax used for school infrastructure for another 20 years and use the inflationary growth in that tax for water quality initiatives. U.S. Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack, the state’s former governor, was on hand when Branstad announced his plan. Vilsack issued a written statement Tuesday, saying legislators now have “two viable options to address water quality in Iowa.”