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Vote ‘no’ on land legacy amendment

By Staff | Oct 29, 2010

To the editor:

Iowans are a common sense bunch. Toughened by harsh winters, unpredictable springs and summer floods, we have learned to do the hard work to make it through hard times.

We know there are no promises or shortcuts. I urge Iowans to put that same common sense to good work when they go to the polls this November.

Read the fine print and vote “no” on the ballot to amend the constitution for a conservation trust fund.

The harsh truth of the deal comes down to two key points – tax and trust.

This conservation trust fund, simply put, is a tax with no real certainty that it will indeed be used to improve Iowa’s soil and water.

Trust is the heart of the matter, because Iowans have been through this before; how many times have we trusted lawmakers to use earmarked taxpayer money for a certain need, only to have that money diverted for something else that lawmakers deem more important?

What about the Senior Living Trust Fund or the tobacco settlement?

Those were vast amounts of money that came into Iowa coffers, but were diverted by lawmakers for other budget needs.

Look at the Rebuild Iowa Infrastructure Fund, now committed to repaying the I-JOBS bonding program. A similar thing could happen with this new “trust” fund.

Iowa Farm Bureau believes the intent of the natural resources trust fund is good, with a bad approach.

It is a good idea to hold lawmakers accountable for prioritizing and funding conservation programs; but locking in a new sales tax by amending our constitution, with only a slim promise of accountability, is a bad idea.

A better approach for ensuring conservation needs are met in Iowa is to hold our lawmakers’ feet to the fire to ensure our hard-fought conservation programs – which have already been approved – are properly funded.

Lawmakers come and go, based on your votes, but the constitution is a document that has stood the test of time for a reason. It’s worth fighting to keep it intact.

Yes, improving conservation efforts is the right thing to do, but changing the constitution is the wrong way to do it.

If Iowans have learned one thing in this trying economy, it’s to get their money’s worth.

I urge Iowans to put their famous common sense to good use this Nov. 2, and vote “no” on the conservation trust fund constitutional referendum.

We simply can’t afford to trust that government will do the right thing with our money.

In the end, this is a tax increase.

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