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Bill That Would Affect Public Land Acquisition Topic Of Discussion At Legislative Forum

Mon 4-1-2019

(Des Moines)-- A bill that would curtail state funding for the acquisition of public land was a topic of discussion at Saturday's legislative forum at the Pearson Lakes Art Center. The bill has cleared the Senate and is headed to the House. State Senator Zach Whiting of Spirit Lake says he voted in favor of the measure...Land Acq. Bill01 

"It levels, I think, it does a better job of leveling the playing field for private entities that want to acquire land, they should not have access to state taxpayer money at a zero or four percent interest rate in order to buy land. You should have to acquire capitol like everybody else does, maybe save money, maybe go to the bank and get the traditional interest rate. So that's why I voted for it. I thought it was a good bill and I will see what my House colleagues have to say about its prospects over there."

State Representative John Wills of Spirit Lake told the crowd he feels this way about the issue...Land Acq. Bill02 

"When we spend or when we use or allow money from the government, your dollars and cents, your tax dollars, when we use that money, I like to be able to say we got a benefit out of it or we got x amount of benefit. And so it's pretty difficult to determine what kind of benefit, if any, that we were able to get out of that program for one organization in the state of Iowa to be able to spend tax free, interest free money, to buy land. In fact, you know, you could say it was even a counter to that. And so I really look at it and say well, if we can't prove that there's a benefit to the public for using that interest free money, then I would say that's probably not something that we should continue."

State Representative Megan Jones of Sioux Rapids says she isn't sure what the bill's chances are of passing in the House...Land Acq. Bill03 

"I'm open to it, certainly. I know there was a similar bill in the House that was well in similar to issue, it was not similar in scope. It was a lot broader and it couldn't make it out of subcommittee. So I don't know what it's going to look like in the House."

The second funnel deadline of the session is coming up this week at the state house in Des Moines.