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Environmentalist vs. Economist

Garden I've purposely avoided most of the election topics in my blog over the past several weeks.  This has taken considerable restraint on my part, as there has been SO MUCH fodder, but I didn't want to cloud the messages of accomplishment with others' perceptual filters on candidates and issues... there are a lot of strong feelings out there from both sides.

I am, however, going to tackle one issue that's on the Iowa ballot.  On the surface, the creation of a Water and Land Legacy fund is a brilliant idea.  I've become more more engaged and interested in environmental issues, and I believe we're all called to be good stewards of our planet's resources, whether or not we believe in global warming.

But beyond the surface of this idea, things fall apart.  First, I'm not sure why this measure is a constitutional amendment.  This seems like overkill, and it makes it appear as though our governor and legislature can't do their job well enough to make this a reality through their own responsibilities.  The purpose of a constitution is to define/limit/expand rights... mostly for the individual.  When it comes to organizations, the legislature should be defining the parameters by which they operate.

The second issue with this measure is funding.  They've structured it so that a sales tax increase is necessary to fund it.  For those who have not gone through a couple of semesters of economics in college, sales tax is regressive; in other words, it hits the lower and middle classes worse, because these classes use proportionately more of their income to spend money on taxable items than do the upper class.  Maybe it's the systems thinker in me, but why not increase fines and penalties on environmental infractions to fill the coffers?  That way, the more companies and individuals are caught breaking environmental laws, the more the environment benefits (basic cause and effect).

While you can guess which way I'm voting on this measure, that's not really why I chose to write about it.  I want to challenge all of you to have these kinds of internal arguments before you go out and try to argue with someone from a different party or political mindset.  Based on the commercials and the bad arguments I've witnessed, we seem to have more absent-minded voters than we have absentee voters.  Please try to be informed and to think before you pull the lever tomorrow.

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Comments

Claire Celsi

Tim, I have no idea where you got your information that his is a constitutional amendment. http://www.dsmh2o.com/a-vote-for-the-creation-of-a-trust-fund-not-a-vote-for-a-tax-increase/ also http://www.iowaswaterandlandlegacy.org/home.aspx

What gives?

Timothy Johnson

Where did I get the idea, Claire? Did you READ your own links? Both refer to it as an amendment, one specifically says it's an amendment to the constitution in its opening statement.

Again, I'm not opposed to the idea of such a fund; I'm opposed to how it was structured and funded.

Claire Celsi

When I am wrong, I admit it. Tim, I've learned something from you today. Also, I would be for a constitutional convention for this issue, but it would open it up to all kinds of crazy people, so It's best not to. Thanks!

Timothy Johnson

That's why you and I get along so well, despite our political differences, Claire. Now... can you imagine what would happen if ALL of those yahoos in DC learned how to DIALOG across the aisle and base discussions on fact and mutual understanding?

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