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Hopes Dim for Iowa Water Quality Compromise

The likelihood of Iowa lawmakers agreeing this session on a major plan to finance water quality improvement projects appears to be dimming.
However, House Republicans introduced new legislation Tuesday to pay for programs to curb water pollution even as Senate Democratic Leader Michael Gronstal was expressing strong doubts about GOP proposals. This year's session is tentatively scheduled to adjourn around April 19, which means time is running short to reach a compromise.
House Study Bill 654, sponsored by House Republicans, would convert an existing 6 percent sales tax Iowans pay on their water bill for metered water into a 6 percent excise tax. The money would flow into a state revolving fund for water quality initiatives. The tax currently generates about $28 million a year, with the majority of it going to the state general fund. One-sixth goes to an account that pays for school infrastructure.
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