Under the Golden Dome, Too – July 19, 2013

Upmeyer UTGD

It’s hard to believe we’re already mid-summer! Hopefully you’re finding time to enjoy a break in your busy lives and take a much-needed vacation or spend some special time with friends or family. Most importantly, I hope you are finding some cool relief during these hot Iowa summer days.

Parades and festivals are a big part of my summer. I get to as many as I possibly can- 4th of July in Clear Lake was the best weather ever, the Coulter parade had everyone running for cover when a shower broke, and the Franklin County Fair parade was one of the hottest ever! Isn’t it great to be an Iowan?!

This past legislative session, we worked with a number of different groups to improve Iowa’s water quality. Last year there was concern that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) may have been interested in administering some heavy-handed and possibly crippling new regulations in our state. While we wanted to be sure to address their concerns, we also realized the importance of implementing a plan that made the most sense for our state and one that came from the state level, not the federal government.

As a result, a study was completed by the Iowa Department of Agriculture, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, and Iowa State University- all of which have a great understanding of our state’s agriculture, soil, and water needs. Based on the results of this study, Secretary Northey and members of the study committee, recommended the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy, with the goal of reducing nutrient loss in our waters.

We realize there are numerous ways to reduce nutrient loss across the state. There are many different methods to slow runoff and prevent erosion, therefore one technique may not work for every location or soil type. The Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy is a voluntary, science-based approach to improving Iowa’s water quality. Implementing a voluntary program should provide the flexibility needed to do what best fits a number of operations, while improving our water quality.

For Fiscal Year 2014, the Legislature appropriated a one-time investment of $20 million, in addition to ongoing funding of $2.4 million, to support conservation and water quality improvements in Iowa. This funding will offer many opportunities for people to manage watersheds and conservation projects across Iowa. Additionally, some funding will go toward starting a nutrient management research center at Iowa State University that will conduct ongoing research on practices to reduce nutrient losses.

Whether it’s Clear Lake, Beeds Lake, or another water source in Iowa, we know watershed management is important.

In other news, Iowa’s 14th annual sales tax holiday is quickly approaching. This year beginning at 12:01 am on Friday, August 2 through midnight on Saturday, August 3, no sales tax will be collected on the sale of clothing or footwear having a selling price of less than $100.00 per item. All businesses that are open on August 2 and 3 are participants. I’m hopeful you are able to take advantage of the tax-free weekend. This is a great opportunity to save some money and enjoy visiting some of our fine Iowa retailers. For more information on which items are exempt from the sales tax during this holiday weekend, visit http://www.iowa.gov/tax/educate/STHList.pdf.

As always, please feel free to contact me anytime with the issues you care about at linda.upmeyer@legis.iowa.gov or 515-281-4618.