Governor Terry Branstad wants to tap into that fund to pay for millions of dollars in water quality projects. House Republicans propose letting schools keep all the infrastructure money, for use on a variety of other school-related needs.
“I’m an education individual and I know what the needs are of the education community,” says Representative Ron Jorgensen, a Republican from Sioux City who is a former school board member.
Jorgensen is now chairman of the education committee in the Iowa House and he is advancing a bill that would extend the one-cent sales tax for schools that’s set to expire in 2029 for another 20 years and all the money would still be dedicated to some sort of school use. Jorgensen doesn’t sound convinced by Branstad’s idea to divert some of that money to water quality projects.
“It just has come up on us so quickly. There’s just a lot of information that we need to have before we could warm up to something like that,” Jorgensen says. “…With the governor’s proposal, there’s still a lot of information we would need to understand before you could even say: ‘Yeah, let’s do this.'”
The governor says he looks forward to working with legislators on their ideas.
(Reporting by Iowa Pubic Radio’s Joyce Russell; additional reporting by Radio Iowa’s O. Kay Henderson)