Iowa House Speaker opposes maneuver to fill Natural Resources and Outdoor Recreation fund

DES MOINES — The top Republican in the Iowa House says the 2023 legislature is unlikely to fill a state fund created to finance water quality and outdoor recreation projects.

In 2010, Iowa voters passed a constitutional amendment creating the Natural Resources and Outdoor Recreation Trust Fund where money from a future sales tax increase would be deposited. Last year, Senate Republicans proposed a maneuver to fill that fund, by converting all local option sales taxes to a statewide 1% sales tax.

About 50 cities and counties, though, do not have a local option sales tax, so it would be an increase in those areas.

“Now I know there are people that want to offset it and different conversations,” House Speaker Pat Grassley told Radio Iowa, “but at the end of the day, it could cost somebody something…Right now, with what we’ve campaigned on and what we’re seeing nationally, now is not the time to be adding increased costs to Iowans.”

In early 2020, Governor Kim Reynolds proposed a one cent sales tax increase as part of a plan that put money in the Natural Resources and Outdoor Recreation Fund and reduce state taxes overall, however the proposal drew some GOP opposition and was tabled once the pandemic hit.

The 2023 legislative session begins Monday.