NEVADA, IOWA—Today, during her Condition of the State Address, Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds announced plans to propose a one cent sales tax increase that would include the necessary three-eighths of one cent to fund the Natural Resources and Outdoor Recreation Trust Fund, also known as Iowa’s Water and Land Legacy or IWILL.
The announcement comes after 63 percent of Iowa voters approved a constitutional amendment to establish the trust fund to preserve the state’s natural resources and promote outdoor recreation opportunities.
“After a decade in waiting, Iowans can finally celebrate some real movement on improving the quality of our state’s lakes, rivers, and streams,” said Cody Smith, policy associate at the Center for Rural Affairs. “We applaud this announcement and stand ready and willing to work with legislators and the Governor’s office to make this a reality in our state.”
Operating under the assumption that IWILL would generate $172 million a year, the proposal would significantly increase the state’s investment in water quality improvement with up to $99.5 million committed to water quality efforts to help protect the critical resource.
“Gov. Reynolds’ budget request is exciting, but we believe the state must use this opportunity wisely for the funds to have the greatest impact,” Smith said. “This includes crucial investments in staffing for Watershed Management Authorities, which has been shown time and time again to be a key indicator of success in long-term water quality improvement.”
Watershed Management Authorities, which are cooperative agreements between cities, counties, and soil and water conservation districts, offer a way for local communities to guide watershed-level efforts.
"We believe providing state support for Watershed Management Authorities will put communities in the driver’s seat, empowering Iowans to make continued investments in water quality improvement and long-term planning, ultimately improving the quality of life in rural Iowa,” Smith said.
Learn more about the Center for Rural Affairs’ Iowa water quality efforts at cfra.org/water.