Proposal to Defund State Research Centers Advanced by Iowa Legislature

Silencing Science Tracker

Proposal to Defund State Research Centers Advanced by Iowa Legislature

On April 11, 2017, the Iowa Legislature published a proposed state budget for education for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2017 (FY2017). Under the proposal, spending on education would be cut by $20 million in FY2017, compared to the previous year. The cuts would result in, among other things, the elimination of all state funding for two research centers at Iowa State University.

One of the affected centers – the Iowa Flood Center – works with government agencies, communities, businesses, and citizens to provide information about flood risks. The Center received $1.5 million in state funding in FY2016 and has indicated that, without similar funding in FY2017, it will be forced to close.

The second affected center – the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture – conducts research into environmental and water quality issues, with a particular focus on “develop[ing] new ways to farm profitably while conserving natural resources [and] reducing negative environmental and social impacts.” It too has indicated that it will be forced to close if state funding is eliminated.

UpdateOn April 12, 2017, it was reported that Iowa legislatures had reached a deal under which $1.2 million in funding would be made available to the Iowa Flood Center.

On April 25, 2017, the Iowa Legislature Senate File 510 “relating to and making appropriations and related statutory changes involving state government entities involved with agriculture, natural resources, and environmental protection.” Among other things, Senate File 510 eliminated all state funding for the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture, based at Iowa State University.

On May 12, 2018, Iowa Governor Terry Branstad approved Senate File 510 after vetoing the section defunding the Leopold Center. The Governor’s action preserves funding for, and thus ensures the continued operation of, the Center.


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