On Jan. 31, Gov. Kim Reynolds signed into law a bill that has been described as a “first step” toward solving Iowa’s $4 billion water quality problem.
The next step — in fact, the best step — has been ready since 2010, when 63 percent of Iowans voted to pass the constitutionally protected Natural Resources and Outdoor Recreation Trust Fund, also known as IWiLL (Iowa’s Water and Land Legacy).
Since the trust fund was approved eight years ago, support for its funding continues to grow, while Iowa’s rivers, streams and lakes grow more polluted. Recent polling shows that 69 percent of likely voters support raising the sales tax 3/8 of a cent to fund the trust.
This is the only substantial, dedicated, voter-approved, constitutionally protected, long-term funding solution to Iowa’s water woes, annually providing more than $100 million of new money toward water quality.
But the trust fund isn’t just about water quality — it’s about quality of life. The Trust Fund will protect and enhance statewide resources like parks, trails, wildlife habitat and the popular Resource Protection and Enhancement program (REAP). These resources have a proven and positive impact on workforce retention and economic development. IWiLL will be good for all Iowans, city folk and farm folk alike.
As the legislature turns its attention to tax reform, our lawmakers need to know that their work on water quality and natural resources protection isn’t done. Take an important step and tell your legislators to fund the Natural Resources and Outdoor Recreation Trust Fund.
Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation Board of Directors