Iowa Voters Create Outdoor Trust Fund

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Voters in Iowa overwhelmingly voted to approve last Tuesday a constitutional amendment to establish the Iowa Outdoor Recreation Trust Fund.

The amendment passed with 62.66% of the vote, and will establish a permanent revenue flow for natural resources and outdoor recreational programs in the state. As approved, the measure requires that if the Iowa Legislature approves a sales tax increase, then 3/8ths of one cent must be used in support of the fund. Estimates report that about $150 million per year would be generated and devoted to the Fund.

"From enhancing lakes for anglers to creating bike trails for cyclists, the Iowa Outdoor Recreation Trust Fund is a worthwhile investment in outdoor opportunities for Iowans, as well as those who visit our state to enjoy our abundant natural resources," said State Senator Dick Dearden./p>

The measure was introduced in the Iowa House of Representatives in January by Rep. Paul Bell and then approved by both houses of the state legislature in February and placed on the November ballot.

According to amendment provisions, the following allocations are mandated as part of the Iowa Outdoor Recreation Trust Fund:

  • Natural resources: 23 percent would be allocated to state parks, state forests, state preserves, wildlife areas and other.
  • Soil conservation and water protection: 20 percent would be used for soil conservation and watershed protection
  • Watershed protection: 14 percent would be used to help preserve watersheds
  • Resource Enhancement and Protection Program: 13 percent of the revenue would be used for natural, cultural, and recreational resources parks, trails, museums, and roadside beautification.
  • Local conservation partnership: 13 percent would be handed out to local communities for areas pertaining to outdoor and recreation
  • Trails: 10 percent would go to outdoor trails for recreational use.
  • Lake restoration: 7 percent would go to public lake restoration around the state.

Comments

deerhunter30's picture

This would be great for Iowa

This would be great for Iowa as long as it does not get raided by the state like other states have done.

Iowa is a great place for outdoor fun and why not have more money to make it a even better place to come and play in the outdoors.

There may not be anything directed towards hunters but as long as they are putting money into the public lands and lakes that land will always be there for hunting and fishing.

I hope this works out for the best.

ecubackpacker's picture

The devil is in the details

The devil is in the details with this type legislation and funding program. We have a similar program in NC. The problem is the general assembly is raiding the fund at an alarming rate. They are taking money from this fund to prop up the shortfall in the state budget. Their reasoning is they will pay it back at a later date. Right! They can't afford the budget now...they don't want to reduce spending...so how are they going to pay it back in the future...they aren't!

It's the same thing with the lottery money. The state government sees all this money in these funds and can't stand the fact it isn't being used for something...it's just siting there drawing interest...

Anyway, my point is I hope their are laws that prevent this from happening to their funds in Iowa.

CVC's picture

I doubt that there are any

I doubt that there are any protections for the fund.  It is a common practice to raid funds to offset shortfalls.  Not much legislatures can do to protect the funds.  The KS Wildlife and Parks agency is able to protect its fee funds because it receives federal funding and diverting those funds and the state funds would jeopardize the federal funding.  It is a pretty persuaive argument that taking the small amount of state funds will jeopardize millions of federal dollars so they leave the agency alone, but other state agencies usually don't fare as well.

CVC's picture

This is a good idea and I

This is a good idea and I hope more states will do it.  I didn't see anything in the list of approved uses for hunting, but wonder if the 23 percent for parks, wildlife areas etc. will benefit hunters as they may be used for hunting?  I hope so.