Saving Tax Payer Money: County Agriculture Extension Council

Jake Porter’s campaign for governor has talked about responsible balancing of income and expenditures. Jake has said he would use his first year in office to look at the operations of government and identify agencies that could be consolidated or eliminated to save money. The next years of his administration would be spent working towards bringing the state budget in line with what Iowans can afford and what they need.

We are looking today at the Polk County Agriculture Extension Council. This is not an agency, but an elected council, one of those back-of-the-ballot offices. Under Iowa Code Chapter 176A, the purpose, duties, and limitations of the council are stated.

 The extension council has for its sole purpose the dissemination of information, the giving of instruction and practical demonstrations on subjects relating to agriculture, home economics, and community and economic development, and the encouragement of the application of the information, instruction, and demonstrations to and by all persons in the extension district, and the imparting to the persons of information on those subjects through field demonstrations, publications, or other media.

In Polk County, there are 9 members of the council. The members are not compensated, but their expenses may be reimbursed. In comparison, the Board of Regents for the Iowa university system also has 9 members.

Extension councils may raise money through a property tax levy, and they do. The Iowa Code allows the amount collected to rise each year by $7,000 in the most populous counties, including Polk. The 2017 levy rate, for use in the 2018-2019 budget, could be 0.03690, for a total possible amount collected of $861,027. The purpose of the funds is to pay for education and outreach.

On November 6, 2018, Polk County voters will have 6 candidates for the County Agriculture Extension Council from which to select 6 people to fill seats on the council. Four of those candidates are incumbents. These seats are considered non-partisan. Thus, no party identification is indicated on the ballot, nor have the Polk County Libertarians made any endorsement for or support of any candidate for the council.

We do ask you to take time to consider the role of the council and the value received from taxation for the council’s work. Perhaps you will find the benefit outweighs the cost. Maybe you will think there is some good, but that the cost of either a 9-person council and/or education paid for by the tax levy is not great enough for the cost being incurred. You might even conclude the cost is far greater than the benefit. These are the types of questions Jake would ask of agencies and commissions at the state level.

We remind you the election is on November 6th. We encourage you to vote if you have not already. We ask you to vote Libertarian. Vote Porter/Gentry for Governor/Lt. Governor. Then take a look at the back of the ballot, at those non-partisan contests, and remember, those people listed are responsible for how your tax dollars are spent.

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