Representatives from multiple environmental, wildlife, gaming, parks, and conservation groups are supporting a measure to increase the state sales tax by 0.375% to provide sustainable funding through the constitutionally protected natural resources fund. The measure has already been approved in a Senate subcommittee, but if it makes it to Governor Terry Branstad, it is projected that he will not approve it. Gov. Branstad told reporters earlier this week “I don’t think we should be raising taxes. My Goal is to reduce property taxes and make Iowa more competitive, to bring more jobs here.”
Supporters of the measure point to the declining water quality and the need to ameliorate the quality, as it used by the state’s farmers for livestock and produce. Bob Riley, who is president of a collection of companies that annually feed millions of livestock and manage processing plants in Iowa, told lawmakers he’s primarily interested in keeping the federal Environmental Protection Agency “out of Iowa” — as they have threatened to begin regulating the state’s farmers and livestock producers if state officials don’t better enforce the state’s water quality issues.