Governor’s water quality initiative moves forward

February 18, 2016

HSB601, Gov. Terry Branstad’s priority bill on water quality and school funding moved out of the House Agriculture Committee Wednesday with an amendment. The bill extends the school SAVE (Secure an Advanced Vision for Education Fund) statewide penny sales tax sunset to 2049, guarantees a base amount plus and additional $10M annually for school infrastructure uses.

The bill provides that additional funds over that base amount - an estimated $4.7B over the span of the sunset extension - would go to water quality projects in the state for use by non-point and point sources through revolving funds and cost-share program.

The amendment does the following:

  • Creates more accountability, requiring an annual report to the Legislature and an effectiveness review by a committee established in the bill every 10 years.
  • Reduces the percentage of funding going into the revolving fund aimed at governmental subdivisions from 25 to 15 and increases from 25 to 35 the percentage of funding going into a new revolving loan program which is open to point and non-point sources to finance water quality enhancement projects. The remaining 50 percent of funding goes to the cost-share program for non-point sources.
  • Allows more flexibility for use of the funding by schools for certain district funding inequities and property tax relief, and adds a voter approval requirement when the cost of an infrastructure project exceeds $1 million. 

The bill now moves to the House Ways and Means Committee. Staff Contact: Jessica Harder