A proposed constitutional amendment to set aside funding for natural resources has organized opposition. The Iowa Farm Bureau is urging its members to vote no. Don Petersen is government relations director for the Farm Bureau.
“The key point there is that this requires a sales tax increase for the conservation funds to ever get any funding,” he says. If Iowa voters endorse the amendment in this fall’s election, three-eights of any future one-percent increase in the state sales tax would go into an environmental trust fund for improving water quality, protecting wildlife habitats and creating parks and trails.
“We don’t believe that setting aside a tax that’s not even been collected yet for a purpose in our constitution is something that should be done or taken lightly,” Petersen says. The Farm Bureau is running an ad campaign against the proposal and making automated phone calls urging Iowans to vote no.
Backers of the constitutional amendment say they’re surprised by the Farm Bureau’s campaign, as the group did not lobby against the proposal when state legislators approved putting it on the 2010 ballot. The amendment’s supporters say if it passes, Iowa farmers would be in line for millions of dollars in state grants to soil and water conservation projects.