Bill introduced in Iowa Senate that would fund Trust Fund

By Anna Gray on January 31, 2022 in Blog

Governor Reynolds and Iowa legislative leaders have made clear that tax reform will be a central part of their agendas this year. The Governor, the Iowa House, and the Iowa Senate have each introduced tax bills — but only the Senate proposal (SF 2206) will fund the Natural Resources and Outdoor Recreation Trust Fund.


Subcommittee hearings for the Senate bill (includes funding for Trust) and the House bill (does not include funding for Trust) were held on Tuesday, Feb. 1. INHF Public Policy Director Anna Gray said at the hearing, “We believe that the trust is an immense opportunity to immediately invest in water quality, agricultural conservation, outdoor recreation, trails and the quality of life assets that make Iowa an attractive place to live and work.”

SF 2206 (formerly known as SSB 3074) passed out of the Ways & Means committee on Thursday, Feb. 3 and is awaiting debate in the full Senate.  HF 2317 (formerly known as HSB 626) passed a subcommittee and is scheduled to have a public hearing at 5 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 14. We need to encourage the House to include funding for the Trust Fund in any tax reform that happens this session. You can sign up to speak during the hearing or submit public comments by clicking here. Then click on the "Signup/Comment" link for HF 2317 (formerly known as HSB 626).

Created in 2010 by Iowa voters, the Natural Resources and Outdoor Recreation Trust Fund would provide reliable, sustainable funding to improve water quality, enhance parks and trails, and protect precious wildlife habitat. Despite widespread support for natural resources and outdoor recreation, the Trust has sat empty for more than a decade, requiring a sales tax increase of 3/8th of a cent for funding.

INHF supports SF 2206 as a plan to Fund the Natural Resources and Outdoor Recreation Trust Fund and accomplish the following priorities to further conservation in Iowa:

  • Secures a constitutionally protected funding source for conservation in Iowa: Once the Trust is funded, it will provide dependable funding for natural resource and outdoor recreation — an estimated $200 million per year to start — and its revenue will continue to grow with inflation. Even though the Trust Fund allocation formula may be adjusted to meet the needs of our time, it is constitutionally protected for the purposes of protecting and enhancing water quality and natural areas in this state, including parks, trails, and fish and wildlife habitat, and conserving agricultural soils.
  • Increases conservation and outdoor recreation funding: Estimated to generate over $200 million annually, the Trust Fund would double conservation funding from current appropriation levels. If the Trust had been funded at the time it was created, Iowa would have invested over $2 billion in conservation and outdoor recreation. Our state cannot afford to wait any longer to fund the Trust.
  • Categorically increases program support: Despite some of the proposed changes to the distribution formula, each program that is part of the Natural Resources & Outdoor Recreation Trust Fund will receive more funding through this legislation than what it is currently appropriated.
  • Extends the Resource Enhancement and Protection program (REAP): REAP has been Iowa’s most successful conservation program and this bill extends the program through 2051. Without action from the legislature, it is set to end in June 2026.

Senator Dan Dawson, Chairman of the Senate Ways & Means Committee and sponsor of SF 2206, recognizes the Trust Fund as key to enhancing Iowa’s quality of life assets.

“It’s a vision to improve Iowa’s water qualities, it’s a vision to improve Iowa’s trail system...those placemaking things that are going to attract people to Iowa,” Dawson said

Tell your legislators that you support funding the Natural Resources & Outdoor Recreation Trust Fund and urge them to include the Trust Fund in any tax reform plan.
In addition to Funding the Trust, SF 2206 eliminates the Charitable Conservation Contribution Tax Credit. The tax credit is available to landowners who make a donation of land value for the purpose of conservation. The program has helped permanently protect more than 14,000 acres of natural and agricultural land across Iowa. This includes private land that is protected by conservation easements for agricultural uses, wildlife habitat and scenic beauty. INHF supports keeping the CCC Tax Credit, and is asking the Senate to amend the bill and preserve this valuable conservation tool.