If Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack (D) has his way, a part of his state’s share of the national tobacco settlement will be used to fund alternative energy projects. On Wednesday, Vilsack suggested spending $50 million of the $438 million settlement to help cities in Iowa build renewable energy plants such as wind turbines. The governor said his goal was to develop statewide energy resources, reduce how much money Iowa spends on buying out-of-state energy, and ultimately reverse the tables, with Iowa selling excess energy to other states. Vilsack’s energy proposal, which is part of a plan to raise per capita income in Iowa, was heavily criticized by Republican gubernatorial candidate Doug Gross. Gross said the funding source would be temporary and asked, “What would happen in year two?” But a spokesperson for the governor noted that energy plants don’t require recurring funding sources: “You don’t rebuild a wind farm every year.”
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