A commission examining ways to find more money to protect Iowa’s environment suggests hiking the state sales tax to bring in millions for natural resources. The commission recommends spending 150 million dollars in each of the next ten years for soil and water, fish and wildlife, and parks and trails — paid for with a higher sales tax and a larger share of state gambling taxes.
Senator Joe Seng, a Democrat from Davenport, says a public opinion poll shows Iowans want the state to spend more on the environment. "Most Iowans, I think 77 percent, favor this," Seng says. "…It’s a priority. Anything’s doable. It’s just where you want to put your money. When you put your money into the land, it tends to come back. I mean, it’s sort of an investment."
Seng is chairman of a budget subcommittee that will consider the recommendation to raise the sales tax to finance environmental projects. Senator Thurman Gaskill, a Republican from Corwith, is also on that subcommittee and he says Republicans aren’t thrilled. "There’s been some talk about some kind of a tax or something, set aside and designated for the (Department of Natural Resources). I’m not very keen on that," Gaskill says.