To the editor:
Governor Branstad recently proposed we divert a portion of the sales tax currently earmarked for our kid?s education to help clean up Iowa?s highly polluted water. While it was heartening to hear the Governor finally acknowledge that the much ballyhooed ?Voluntary Nutrient Reduction Strategy? is a miserable failure, it was deeply disappointing to hear his solution was to make our kids suffer in order to fix it.
Almost all of the nitrogen run off in Iowa is the result of agricultural activity. Research conducted at Iowa State University leaves no doubt about this. So why would the Governor propose all Iowans pay for a solution rather than ask those who create the pollution, and those who directly benefit from the activities that produce the pollution, to pay for it? Why not build a nitrogen fund with a tax levied on the sale of agricultural equipment, a tax on the pork products sold at the grocery store, a tax on fertilizers sold to farmers and a hefty tax on the multinationals that own the majority of Iowa?s hogs?
Do not rob a fund, no matter how it may grow in the coming years, to pay for something that should be dealt with on its own. I think we all know that education is important and if the infrastructure fund is to be tapped it should remain within education itself, which is what most of us really do want for our children and grandchildren.
Iowans already foot the bill for agricultural pollution. Water customers will likely soon have to pay millions to have the burgeoning nitrate loads removed from our water. Why not ask the polluters, and those who benefit from the pollution, to pick up the tab?
Ron J. Wyse