The Iowa Corn Growers Association is encouraging ICGA members to contact their state legislators at the statehouse in Des Moines in support of HSB 547 and in support of Iowa road funding. That bill, which will hopefully be debated in the 2012 session of the legislature, would create money for Iowa's roads through a fuel tax increase. The bill has bipartisan support but has not yet moved out of committee. A senate version of the bill will also be introduced, says Mindy Larsen Poldberg, director of government affairs for ICGA.
The first funnel date is February 24, and all bills must pass out of their committee of origin by the first funnel date or they cannot move forward. Iowa Corn Growers Association policy states, "We support a fuel tax increase to fund transportation improvements to existing transportation infrastructure in the state of Iowa."
Iowa's roads and infrastructure system are essential to agriculture and corn production, and Iowa's farm-to-market roads and rural bridges are in need of repair, says Poldberg. To contact your state legislators, click here. "Please let us at ICGA know if you contact your legislators and what response you receive," she adds.
Here are the HSB 547 talking points ICGA sent out to its members last week
* The road use tax fund is a constitutionally protected fund. The Iowa constitution also guarantees that gas taxes will be used only on our roads so the public knows the money collected will go only toward the intended purpose.
* Rural roads make up nearly 90,000 miles of the state's 114,000-mile road system. Iowa's roads and infrastructure system are essential to agriculture and corn production, and Iowa's farm-to-market roads and rural bridges are in need.
* The gas tax is the only source of revenue available that is contributed to by people who do not live in Iowa, but use our roads. Therefore, it acts as a "user fee." About 13% of the state's road use tax fund money comes from the fuel taxes paid by out-of-state drivers.
* 35% of large trucks travelling in Iowa are from out-of-state, and 15% of the passenger car and small trucks are from outside of the state
For more talking points from the Iowa Good Roads Association, of which ICGA is a partner, click here. The Senate and House Transportation Committee chairmen, Senator Tom Reilly (D-Oskaloosa) and state Representative David Tjepkes (R-Gowrie), held a press conference at the Iowa Capitol on January 4 calling for an increase in the Iowa fuel tax. The legislative leaders' bipartisan proposal would increase the state's gas tax by four cents in 2013 and four cents in 2014 while also increasing registration fees by one percent in 2012.
Iowa ag groups present Agriscope project to state senators
In other news at the statehouse in Des Moines last week, Iowa Corn Growers Association CEO Craig Floss, along with Iowa Soybean Association CEO Kirk Leeds, presented the Iowa Agriscope 2030 plan to the Iowa Senate on Thursday, February 2.The goal of Agriscope 2030 is cooperation between all key players in agriculture: growers, commodity groups, government, scientists, educators and agribusiness. "The plan specifically includes business aspects and what we can do to assure growth from today until 2030," says Floss. Click here for more information on Agriscope 2030.