Our priority issues in Iowa include clean energy, soil health, and water quality. Relevant developments concerning priority legislation will be shared via email. Email email@example.com to sign up for bi-weekly legislative updates or click here.
In 2010, 63 percent of Iowa voters approved the Natural Resources and Outdoor Recreation Trust Fund, often referred to as Iowa’s Water and Land Legacy or IWILL. As a result, the first three-eighths cent of any sales tax increase must be designated for the fund. The state has not raised its sales tax since, therefore IWILL contains no money to date.
In 2018, the Legislature passed a bill which is expected to provide more than $270 million over the next 12 years for programs like the Iowa Water Quality Initiative. Unfortunately, this legislation was written with a sunset provision that discontinues the funding source in the instance a sales tax increase is adopted.
This legislative session, we expect the introduction of a sales tax increase to fund IWILL. We support using new revenue to help address the state’s pressing water quality challenges. We will work to preserve the existing formula, only agreeing to common-sense changes that empower farmers and rural communities to improve water quality in Iowa.
In 2019, legislation pertaining to soil health passed in several states, including Nebraska. While efforts in Iowa were stalled, there is an expectation that policy initiatives may be viewed more favorably in 2020 and beyond. Soil health has brought many farmers into the water quality discussion and any proposal will rely on existing funds and agency support.
We will advocate in support of common-sense proposals that would result in more attention to this issue.
During the 2019 legislative session, solar energy came under fire. One of the state’s two investor-owned utilities worked to propose legislation that would add a $328 per year “sunshine tax” to consumers who generate their own electricity through net-metered solar energy systems. We fought against this bill to protect consumer choice and energy independence for those who wish to pursue it.
Although we won the battle last year, we expect this legislation will come up again during the 2020 session. Distributed generation offers farm, business, and home owners the option to pursue clean energy solutions. We must avoid unnecessary costs to ensure small scale energy investments remain viable.
Other issues in Iowa
Beneficial environment enhancement – Neighboring states have enacted policies that encourage solar developers to plant pollinator habitat in and around solar generation facilities. Doing so can help minimize maintenance costs, reduce runoff, and provide critical habitat. We have developed a proposal that would enact a certification program at the Iowa Economic Development Authority. We are now working to determine whether this proposal is best advanced through the legislative or regulatory process.
What do you think?
Let us know your input on these priorities and tell us about other state issues that are important to you. Are you interested in writing a letter to your legislator or even testifying at the state capitol? Let us know.
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