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DMR: Branstad offers a twist on his controversial water quality plan

Posted Jul 28, 2016

Gov. Terry Branstad has put a twist on his controversial proposal to use a portion of a major school infrastructure fund to help pay for water quality improvements in Iowa.

Branstad told the Westside Conservative Club in Urbandale earlier this week that he would consider extending and splitting a 1-cent statewide sales tax now used by school districts to build classrooms, gyms and other school buildings.

His plan calls for designating three-eighths of 1 cent of the tax proceeds for a voter-approved but dormant fund that would finance improvements to Iowa lakes, rivers and streams, trails, parks and other outdoor initiatives. The other five-eighths of 1 cent would continue to be used for school buildings.

It was a trial balloon that received mixed reaction Thursday: Some environmentalists and agriculture groups said they are encouraged that Branstad has continued to look for water quality solutions, while others see the proposal as new tread on old tires.

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