The passage of a long-awaited water quality bill, SF512, was big news as it rushed through the Iowa House last week. While it is a step forward on water quality issues, it certainly is not a real solution.
The bill uses two sources of funding. Beginning in July 2018, funds will be redirected from the existing sales tax on metered water. Currently, that money is part of the general fund and is spent on other state priorities, like education and health care.
Additional funding will be taken from the state infrastructure fund.
This bill reshuffles money and does not provide long-term, reliable funding for a problem that is estimated to need $4 billion to fix. It is a problem that took generations to create and needs a more thoughtful approach. It is my great hope that we continue to look for better solutions as the session proceeds.
Many outstanding groups and individuals care about our land and water and are dedicated to improving them. The time, money and effort we invest in them and their initiatives will pay off for our children and grandchildren.
A multi-faceted approach will deliver solutions that make Iowa a healthier, more successful state. We need to work harder and more cooperatively for that to happen.
State Sen. Rita Hart, D-Wheatland, represents Clinton County and northern Scott County.