SL mayor calls for funding outdoor trust

We are seeing and hearing lots of dialogue when it comes to Iowa natural resource issues. However, as a mayor, I need to separate rhetoric from the facts when it comes to making the right decisions. 

When it comes to funding the Natural Resources and Outdoor Recreation Trust, here are the facts: 

In 2006 the Iowa Legislature established the Governors Committee for Sustainable Funding to determine the unmet needs of existing programs for soil and water conservation and outdoor recreation and to propose an on-going funding source.

The Iowa Legislature passed legislation twice in two separate sessions to put the “Natural Resources And Outdoor Recreation Trust Fund” constitutional amendment on the ballot in 2010 for the people of Iowa to approve.

The voters of Iowa voted by a 63% margin to establish the trust fund. Polling of Iowans continues at or above the 63% margin.

The Iowa Legislature passed into law the distribution formula, with more than 60% directed towards practices yielding water quality improve­ments. Spending for soil and water conservation will improve sustainability of the Iowa agriculture economy.

 Iowa ranks in the bottom three states for conservation spending per capita and for land in public ownership.

Funding the trust is supported by many conservation groups such as Ducks Unlimited, Pheasants Forever, Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation, The Nature Conservancy, Iowa Conservation Alliance, County Conservation Boards, REAP Alliance, Iowa Great Lakes Fishing Club, County Boards of Supervisors, Iowa League of Cities and various cities, Lakes Corridor Development Corporation, Iowa Soybean Association, Iowa Corn Growers, and many other groups.

Outdoor recreation generates $6.1 billion in consumer spending annually in Iowa.

All of the Trust Fund programs will benefit all Iowans, future generations, quality of life, and the overall economy in the state of Iowa.

And very importantly, funding the trust with the sales tax increase does not take funds away from any existing programs of the state of Iowa, or from local communities.

The Iowa Legislature needs to listen to the people of Iowa and vote to increase the sales tax to fund the trust. A bill currently in the Senate (SF 504) does just that.  I encourage ALL Iowans to contact your legislators and ask them to finish the job they started and fund the trust!

Jon Kruse, Mayor of Storm Lake, Ducks Unlimited, Policy Chairman