Pam Mackey Taylor is the Director of the Iowa Chapter of the Sierra Club.
In 2010, about 63 percent of Iowa voters approved a state constitutional amendment creating the Natural Resources and Outdoor Recreation Trust Fund. The amendment stipulated that revenue from the first three-eighths of a percent of any state sales tax increase would go to the trust fund.
Companion legislation established how those funds would be allocated: 23 percent for natural resources, such as natural areas, wildlife diversity, recreation, and water resources; 20 percent for soil and water conservation; 14 percent for watershed protection; 13 percent for the Resource Enhancement and Protection fund (commonly known as REAP); 13 percent for local conservation agencies; 10 percent for trails; and 7 percent for lake restoration.
The campaign to successfully get the constitutional amendment and the legislation was called the Iowa Water and Land Legacy, or I-WILL. During the first few years after adoption of the constitutional amendment, the I-WILL coalition attempted to persuade the legislature to raise the sales tax to fund the program. But the fund remains empty, because state lawmakers have not increased the sales tax.Continue Reading...