A state senator from Cedar Rapids is pushing to get 60-million in state tax dollars set aside for flood prevention projects, but a key Republican says in tight budget times, the state probably can’t afford it. Senator Rob Hogg, a Democrat from Cedar Rapids, says flood prevention is not a frill, it’s a necessity.

“We can’t sit here and just continue to do nothing and hope it won’t happen again because it is inevitably going to happen again and cost Iowans personally, through their own homes and businesses,” Hogg says, “and through their taxes.” According to Hogg, there’s been $8 billion in flood damage in Iowa over the past three years.

But Representative Pat Grassley, a Republican from New Hartford who is chairman of the Rebuild Iowa Committee in the Iowa House, says new initiatives are getting extra scrutiny. “Especially the huge appropriations like I would say this bill has are going to be looked at and throw up a lot of red flags,” Grassley says.

Hogg envisions using the $60-million to finance efforts to restore wetland areas, plant grasses along streams to create better “buffer strips” and even build water “detention” basins. Hogg says the state could use some of the money to “leverage” federal grants, a move that might help his home city of Cedar Rapids build flood protection for vulnerable areas.

Listen to the entire news conference here: Flood mitigation 18:51 MP3