Some legislators are balking at the idea of continuing to provide state tax dollars to the World Food Prize Foundation.
Representative Larry Sheets, a Republican from Moulton, sits on the subcommittee that drafts the budget where $700,000 has been tentatively set aside for the World Food Prize. He suggests at least half of that should go to the Iowa Economic Development Authority instead.
“I represent Appanoose County and part of Wapello County and two others,” Sheets says. “Appanoose and Wapello are in dire need of economic development.”
The World Food Prize was established in 1986 and is awarded each fall. It has been called the Nobel Prize for those who’re working to end world hunger. Republican Representative Mary Ann Hanusa of Council Bluffs isn’t calling for cancelling all state support of the World Food Prize either. But Hanusa says the state’s economic development agency is being asked to cut its budget by 400-thousand dollars — and it may be time to ask the privately-run World Food Prize to do more private fundraising.
“It does seem that for an organization that is well-established world wide and has multiple sources of funding this might be an areas where, perhaps, they could also step up,” Hanusa says.
Senator Bill Dotzler, a Democrat from Waterloo, says Republican Governor Terry Branstad and top leaders in the legislature are in favor of giving the World Food Prize about a million dollars.
“Maybe our leadership’s commitment should be readjusted,” Dotzler says.
But Dotzler says he’s willing to include money for the World Food Prize in the legislature’s “economic development” budget. Dotzler says otherwise policymakers may dip deeper into the account reserved for constructing and maintaining state-owned buildings. For example, the House voted Monday night to withdraw $5 million from that fund for water quality projects.