CCI member Erich Riesenberg: How, exactly, will sales tax improve water quality?

he proposed sales tax to pay for water quality projects is a lot like the weather — everyone seems to be lobbying for the new sales tax, but no one is willing to estimate what it will accomplish [Joining the struggle for clean water, Sept. 18]. A 15 percent reduction in nutrient runoff? Or 25 percent?

What is the next step, a decade and a couple more billion tax dollars later, when Iowa’s water remains polluted?

If Iowa’s secretary of agriculture wants a revenue-neutral solution, require Iowa’s rich farmland owners to implement Iowa’s Nutrient Reduction Strategy to receive existing state and federal subsidies. Per the strategy, this would reduce runoff by around two-thirds, at no additional cost to taxpayers.

— Erich Riesenberg, Des Moines

Published in the Des Moines Register.