Iowa’s governor is suggesting the Iowa State Fair Board may want to reconsider its decision to go “cashless” in 2014 — forcing fairgoers to buy tickets that will be used to buy food and drinks from fairground vendors.
“Though the governor and lieutenant governor understand the board members’ intentions were good regarding the decision to move toward a ticket-based payment method, they believe the Iowa State Fair would be wise to listen to the concerns of fairgoers and Iowans before implementing such a large change in policy,” says Jimmy Centers, communications director for Governor Terry Branstad.
Iowa’s governor, the state’s ag secretary and Iowa State University’s president all serve on the Fair Board as directors, but each designates someone else to go to the meetings. Branstad’s tapped Lieutenant Governor Kim Reynolds to attend in his place, but Reynolds was not at the meeting when the board voted to make the change as she was just returning to the state from an overseas trip.
A spokesman for Iowa Ag Secretary Bill Northey has not yet responded to a request for comment on the issue, nor has Dr. John Lawrence, the ISU professor who attends board meetings on behalf of the university’s president.
Thousands of posts on Twitter and Facebook are panning the idea of forcing fairgoers to stand in line to buy tickets, then stand in line to again to buy corn dogs and other fair food. The new payment system would ensure fairground vendors pay the required 17.5 percent of their profits to the fair. Under the current honor system, vendors keep track of their own sales and submit a payment to the fair.