Let’s pass the Invest in Iowa Act03/16/2020 | Water Quality, Soybean News
Dan Houston, CEO, Principal Financial Group
Kirk Leeds, CEO, Iowa Soybean Association
Iowans have a deep appreciation for the value of our natural resources. We understand that our rich and productive soil, beautiful waterways, and attractive outdoor recreational amenities form the foundation for a strong economy, innovative companies, and remarkable quality of life.
The Invest in Iowa Act offers Iowa an historic opportunity to enhance our natural resources in every county. By raising the state sales tax by one penny per dollar, we can usher in an era of unprecedented progress in soil and water quality, agricultural resiliency, and economic development. And by the same action, we can invest in much-needed mental health services and reduce the overall tax burden on Iowans, measures which also enhance public health and strengthen our economy. That is why we encourage lawmakers to pass the Act this year.
In 2010, Iowans expressed their support for investing in Iowa’s natural resources when they voted overwhelmingly in support of creating a constitutionally protected natural resources trust. Sixty-three percent of Iowans backed the measure, along with a bipartisan coalition of more than 120 organizations representing all 99 counties.
But nearly a decade later, the state sales tax remains unchanged, and the trust remains empty. By passing the Invest in Iowa Act, lawmakers will make good on their promise by creating and implementing a reliable funding source to improve our recreational amenities and water quality.
The funding formula outlined in the act has evolved since first acted on by voters, recognizing well-deserved needs and priorities that will improve quality of life, create jobs, and attract new residents. Nearly $100 million will be invested annually to spur conservation and water quality improvements, and $55 million will bolster outdoor recreation. These investments will scale up the use of practices that build soil health, reduce nutrient loss, and improve water quality in priority watersheds. The infusion of resources will also kickstart demand for workers who can implement these projects.
Perhaps most importantly, the Invest in Iowa Act will inspire long-standing trust and cooperation among rural and urban communities. Iowa has a history of finding solutions that support our agricultural base while connecting with the priorities of urban residents. The Invest in Iowa Act solves common challenges through shared responsibility and shared benefit.
This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to strengthen families, businesses and communities in every corner and county in Iowa. Let’s seize the moment. Let’s pass the Invest in Iowa Act.
Daniel J. Houston is chairman, president and chief executive officer of Principal Financial Group®. He is responsible for overall management of the company.
Kirk Leeds serves as Chief Executive Officer of the Iowa Soybean Association. Based in Ankeny, ISA delivers production, demand and policy results for the state’s 38,000 soybean farmers.
Not funded by the soybean checkoff
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