Citizens have expressed their concerns, even their fears, about proposed reductions to budgets for the courts, Medicaid, higher education, human services, state prisons, and other government departments and agencies on the news and in newspapers across the State since before the session started. Senate File 2117 is very likely to be debated and voted on this week in the Iowa Senate and will decide what budgets get cut to balance our State’s depleted budget. The budget has suffered due to hundreds of millions tax in tax breaks over the past few years, combined with high revenue projections, that simply were not reached.

One serious issue in desperate need of funding is Iowa’s Natural Resources, with water quality being touted as the highest priority. With so many areas of government needing additional funding to make our state a better place to live it is surprising we continue to hear from Des Moines that there is reportedly “no appetite for a tax increase this session”.

Iowans are Hungry for a sales tax increase.

If the State were to raise the sales tax one penny rather than simply 3/8ths of a cent it would produce upwards of $540,000,000 in state revenue annually that could go a long way towards not only addressing our water quality and other natural resource concerns but, would allow for considerable long term improvements in other areas struggling for funding our State. It could improve our environment, our education, our mental health, human services, courts and judicial system, as well as strengthen our economy. In short, there is a solution that makes Iowa a better place to live. Yes, it does require a sales tax increase but, the people of Iowa have continued to support that increase for the past eight legislative sessions.

With over 1,300 miles of public trails in Iowa subject to the elements including harsh winters it is a no brainer that funding for trails maintenance is a need in order to keep up our trails and continue to attract the growing numbers of trail users to our State. Now let me quickly address the public lands acquisition issue. First of all, there has been a lot of misconceptions and misinformation concerning public lands lately that have led to hysteria about public land acquisition having a serious impact on farmers and agriculture. The following information was provided by the Iowa DNR.

What are Iowa's public lands?

Iowa's public lands include lakes, streams, forests, prairies, preserves, hatcheries, wildlife areas, and parks. Eminent domain is NOT used by the DNR.

When you consider that Iowa is also 48th in overall natural resources in general it’s easy to see why Iowan’s strongly support #FUNDING THE TRUST with its current formula, the formula they voted on.

How can our elected officials fix multiple areas of deficit by simply shifting dollars around? How can we truly address our water quality and natural resource concerns with façade legislation like SF 512 that bring no new dollars to the table? With all these needs and public support for a sales tax increase, why is there “no Appetite for a sales tax increase this session”? I guess it is an election year… None the less, our Governor, the leadership, and elected officials up for re-election have the opportunity to show Iowa what is more important, organizations that provide campaign dollars or the people of Iowa who provide votes. In the end all I can ask for is an Appetite to serve the people of Iowa and significantly improve the long term quality of our State for everyone.