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How the Governor Could Invest in Water without Raiding Other Priorities or Raising Taxes

Governor Branstad deserves credit for his proposal to provide significant resources to address water quality in Iowa. The proposal is an acknowledgment that water pollution is a serious, immediate problem that will take a major investment of resources to solve. It’s an acknowledgment that the drinking water in communities from Boone to Des Moines is at risk of being unsafe to drink because of high nitrate levels. It’s an acknowledgment that Iowans deserve better than a record number of public beach warnings caused by toxic algae and nutrient pollution. It’s an acknowledgment that while the voluntary Nutrient Reduction Strategy may provide a framework for solving our water quality problems, without the resources and urgency to implement it, the voluntary Nutrient Reduction Strategy won’t get us there.

Proposing a significant investment in water quality acknowledges the seriousness of our water quality problem and opens the door for serious discussions about how to find the resources to solve the problem. The Governor demonstrated leadership in starting the conversation, and it will take continued leadership to be open to input to improve the proposal and get buy in from legislators and the diverse constituencies that care about solving our water quality problem.

The leadership of an open mind is critical, because Governor Branstad’s proposal is not without its flaws.

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