‘Momentum” But No Commitments on New Deal to Improve Waterways Like Voters Already Supported

DES MOINES, Iowa–A matter that has remained unresolved for eight years, still remained that way at a lunch of business, community and legislative leaders in Des Moines Monday. But Republican leaders did admit that a deal to send more money for improved waterways and recreational opportunities is gaining momentum.

The Greater Des Moines Partnership held a leadership luncheon with four top Statehouse leaders: House Majority Leader Chris Hagenow, a Republican from Windsor Heights; House Assistant Minority Leader John Forbes, a Democrat from Urbandale; Senate President Charles Schneider, a Republican from West Des Moines; and Senate Minority Leader Janet Petersen, a Democrat from Des Moines.

Voters approved IWILL (Iowa’s Water & Land Legacy Coalition) in 2010 with an estimated $180 million that would be used to clean up Iowa’s waterways, improve soil conservation and expand recreation in the state.  A 3/8 cent sales tax increase would fill the fund. But lawmakers have never implemented the plan.

Schneider said “he is open to it” and said the Partnership has been successful in increasing awareness for the idea. He said he didn’t know what the incoming members thought of the idea, however, and didn’t commit to any action. 

The Partnership also released its legislative priorities at the luncheon.