Governor Reynolds, with her bold leadership, has championed the Invest In Iowa Act. This bill was the subject of my last two newsletters. This week, I will continue to discuss the Natural Resources and Outdoor Recreation Trust Fund (IWILL).
In 2010 a constitutional amendment was passed in Iowa that created the trust fund. IWILL did not have a constitutionally protected formula for disbursement of the funds allotted to it. That was because the creators of the formula wanted the trust fund to be agile and responsive to current issues. For example, water quality was not as high of a priority in 2010 as it is today, and the nutrient reduction strategy wasn’t established. Since the creation of IWILL, there has only been one bill put forth to fund the program.
Over the summer and fall months, I worked with Representative Hein, Senator Rozenboom, groups of stakeholders and the IWILL Coalition to develop a formula that funds our current priorities. The Governor, in her bold plan, has ensured that the trust fund will have oversight from the legislature. Every ten years, the formula can be reviewed and adjusted.
The trust fund will have over 100 million dollars specifically dedicated to funding water quality and other outdoor recreation programs and protection of natural resources. There are 30 million dollars in new funding going to water quality efforts similar to the bill that I helped usher in two years ago. Those changes will ensure water quality is being funded at a higher rate and will help to make water quality changes faster in Iowa.
The first year of the trust fund will be paid for with 172 million dollars from 3/8 of the one-cent sales tax increase if Invest In Iowa is moved through the legislature and signed by the Governor.
These dollars will offer a stable funding source to enact these priorities. When we were working on the water quality bill two years ago, we set up the legislation so that the trust fund sources would revert to the state general fund. With this bill, water quality becomes the priority that Iowans want as well as funding quality of life issues for our state. It is a bill that focuses on workforce development, tax fairness, mental health, and will improve the life of every single Iowan.
I want to thank you if you have read all three weeks of these newsletters. Though I don’t usually spend so much time on one bill, I felt that the Invest in Iowa Act could be the most important bill that we work on this year. It matches the values of Northwest Iowa, and I am proud to bring it to you from Des Moines.