IOWA'S WATER QUALITY PROBLEM IN PERSPECTIVE

3-2-16

Greetings, Gazette Editors, Governor Branstad and all—

At least 2,000 words in the Cedar Rapids Gazette have recently been printed about Iowa’s water quality problem etc.  However, there have been no numbers to place the problem in perspective or to score the many comments, proposals etc., except most notably for Michael Richard’s column in the 3-2-16 Gazette.   Cedar Rapids’ tax and spend, running for governor, Mayor Ron Corbett has been no help.  Rep. Rob Hogg makes matters worse. 

Iowalive net workers have prepared the following tables to fill the glaring void, at no cost to anyone, and to give Gazette editors requested feedback, as usual. 

The following table presents Iowa’s problems in perspective.  Water quality is 7th in significance, at this time, which means 6 other problems are more serious, but haven’t had 2,000 or more meaningful words in the tax and spend Gazette.  The Gazette refuses to identify and reallocate waste to much better use in solving problems. 

IOWA WASTEFULNESS MUST BE REDUCED BY AT LEAST 20% AND THE SAVINGS REALLOCATED TO SOLVE PROBLEMS

Only 3% of Iowa Government/School Waste Is Needed To Fix Water Quality

NO Tax Increases Are Needed For Water Quality!

TO SOLVE A PROBLEM IT MUST FIRST BE IDENTIFIED & PLACED INTO PERSPECTIVE.  Source:  Iowalive  3-2-16

DESCRIPTION OF IOWA'S PROBLEMS

SIGNIFICANCE ON  SCALE OF 0 TO 1,000 TOPS

High taxes 

660

K-12 schools' poor academic quality and wastefulness

650

Economy 

400

Roads and bridges' poor quality

390

Iowa's large city >30,000, wastefulness

360

Farmers' contribution to poor water quality

350

Water quality

305

Federal government subsidies to farmers etc.

255

Iowa government wastefulness

250

Media

200

Large  cities' contribution to poor water quality

150

County governments' contribution to poor water quality

150

Iowa's 3 universities' quality and wastefulness

85

Iowa's small city <30,000 wastefulness

30

Small cities' contribution to poor water quality

10

All  others combined

15

Numbers Were Derived Using Iowalive's Proven,  Proprietary Algorithms and Database

Anyone Claiming To Have Better Numbers Is Asked To Provide Them.

 

The path to failure begins with a single step in the wrong direction.  As usual, the Gazette editors jumped to raise the sales tax, as that step in the wrong direction. The editors know a sales tax increase is legally binding, while a promise to make offsetting cuts is baloney.  In July 1992, liar legislators raised the sales tax by 25% to offset $200 million overspending, and promised it would be for two years only.  The liars never kept their promise and the tax increase remains in effect.   The tax and spend Gazette endorsed the tax increase, of course!

PROMISES OF SALES TAX INCREASE OFFSETS ARE BOGUS!

THE GAZETTE'S WATER QUALITY PLAN HAS SERIOUS PROBLEMS, SHOWN BY RED NUMBERS.  Source:  Iowalive  3-2-16

GAZETTE EDITORIAL BOARD'S WATER QUALITY  'PLAN'

A SUCCESSFUL AND EFFECTIVE PLAN TO FUND WATER QUALITY EFFORTS MUST:

Integrity Index Score, On Scale of 0 to 1,000 Tops

• Trigger funding of the Natural Resources and Outdoor Recreation Trust Fund by raising the sales tax.

1

• Offset that tax increase with some other tax trade-off.

1

• Allocate funding by watershed, through Watershed Management Authorities.

360

• Include a two-step adoption of farm water quality plans.

15

• Create timelines, deadlines and targets for meeting the goals of the Nutrient Reduction Strategy.

600

• Expand water quality monitoring and make the results transparent and publicly available.

300

Integrity Index Score Derivation Methods are Posted on Website: http://www.iowalive.net/integrityderivation.htm

Anyone Claiming To Have Better Numbers is asked to provide them.

The following table identifies $164,915,063 prorated waste that can and should be reallocated to improve water quality.   No official can honestly state there is not sufficient waste in any organization to prevent these wise reallocations—from waste to better water quality.   The  higher the percentage waste in an organization, the greater  percentage of waste reallocated.   It is not fair to reallocate the same percentage from an efficiently operated organization,  as from a more wasteful organization.   Such blind,  across-the-board reallocations are detrimental to efficiently operated organizations.    Similarly, the Gazette’s blind rush to raise the sales tax makes no sense at all!

THE GAZETTE’S PROPOSED SALES TAX INCREASE PENALIZES IA TAXPAYERS RATHER THAN STATE BUDGET WASTERS

The following table provides the scores for the water quality proposals carried in the 2-28-16 Gazette as well.  Several of them, scored in red are 4 more steps in the wrong direction. 

STUPID TAX AND SPENDING SHOWN IN RED NUMBERS MUST BE STOPPED!

 

WATER QUALITY PROPOSALS PRESENTED IN 2-28-16 GAZETTE HAVE SERIOUS PROBLEMS SHOWN BY NUMBERS IN RED.  Source:  Iowalive 3-2-16

PROPOSALS

Integrity Index Score, On Scale of 0 to 1,000 Tops

FUND THE IOWA NATURAL RESOURCES AND RECREATION TRUST FUND

1

In 2010, more than 60 percent of Iowa voters approved the creation of a constitutionally protected trust fund. Money from the fund would go for programs related to soil and water, fish, wildlife and natural areas, and parks and trails. The fund would be filled by a three-eighths cent increase in the state sales tax, but state lawmakers have yet to approve an increase.

The tax boost would raise upward of $170 million annually, with a significant portion going for water quality improvements, watershed management and other water-related initiatives.

FUND THE TRUST FUND, AND OFFSET THE SALES TAX INCREASE BY FLATTENING INCOME TAX RATES

1

Cedar Rapids Mayor Ron Corbett has proposed raising the sales tax by a penny, with a three eighths cent share for the trust fund and the rest used to reduce marginal income tax rates.

Corbett contends his plan provides water quality funding sought by environmental interests while making Iowa's taxes more competitive, a goal of conservative business interests.

Corbett also would seek $40 million in private contributions to match $80 million in trust fund dollars he'd spend on helping farmers meet goals set out in Iowa's voluntary Nutrient Reduction Strategy, which seeks to reduce agricultural water pollution.

EXTEND A STATE SALES TAX FOR SCHOOL INFRASTRUCTURE AND USE GROWTH FOR WATER QUALITY

1

Gov. Terry Branstad has proposed extending a sales tax for school building needs, set to expire in 2029, to 2049. Schools would continue to receive the current level of funding from the tax, plus $10 million annually, but any revenue growth beyond that would be scooped for water quality efforts. Branstad estimates his plan would provide $7.4 billion for water quality and $21 billion for schools over the next 32 years.

MAKE FARM-BASED WATER QUALITY PLANS A REQUIREMENT FOR FEDERAL FARM PROGRAMS

450

Farmer, soil scientist and environmental advocate Francis Thicke contends farmers should be required to create plans for

how they'll adopt practices aimed at reducing nitrate runoff and other pollution issues.

Thicke compares his proposed water quality plans to soil conservation plans already required for farm program participation. He would use public dollars to develop water quality models and to hire technicians who could help farmers create water quality plans.

CREATE A COMMODITY CHECKOFF FOR GRAIN AND LIVESTOCK PRODUCERS TO FUND WATER QUALITY IMPROVEMENTS

1

State Sen. Joe Bolkcom, D-Iowa City, contends a voluntary commodity checkoff charge, much like the ones used by producer groups to promote ag products, could provide needed dollars for water cleanup and protection. He contends the costs should be paid by farmers, much as the cost of urban water treatment is paid by urban businesses and residents. Bolkcom hasn't provided an estimate of how much money a checkoff could raise.

THE IOWA SOIL AND WATER FUTURE TASK FORCE PLAN

650

The task force, organized by the Greater Des Moines Partnership, enlisted input from business, agriculture and environmental leaders. Among its 10 recommendations, the task force calls for developing an implementation plan with deadlines for the Nutrient Reduction Strategy, using watershed management authorities to implement the strategy and establishing a revolving loan fund for testing, planning and implementing water quality improvements. As for funding, the task force 'remains neutral' and leaves the decision up to lawmakers.

Integrity Index Score Derivation Methods are Posted on Website: http://www.iowalive.net/integrityderivation.htm

Anyone Claiming To Have Better Numbers is asked to provide them.

 

Sincerely,

Iowalive   A growing network of volunteer citizens and professionals for improving Iowa