Write your state legislators today: demand Amendment 1 funding be used as intended: for water and land conservation, not politicians’ pet projects.
Arrogant. Deceitful. Insulting. These would be a few words (among others) to describe how the Florida Legislature is implementing Amendment 1. This measure to purchase sensitive land for conservation and recreation was approved by 75% of Florida voters last November, receiving more votes than any other item on the ballot. So what is the legislature doing? The exact opposite of what voters just told them.
Amendment 1 changed the Florida Constitution to say that one-third of state revenues from real estate transactions (doc stamps) should be devoted exclusively to land conservation for the next 20 years. It’s no surprise that such a measure received an historic level of support: Floridians want to preserve the state they love. They see forests being destroyed for strip malls, an endangered Everglades, dying springs, and rivers choking with green algae.
More than $720 million should be set aside this year for critical land conservation as a result of Amendment 1’s passage. This includes major priorities, like purchasing critical land south of Lake Okeechobee for Everglades restoration and water protection. The Florida Senate’s proposed budget has only allocated a pitiful $2 million, an amount less than pre-Amendment 1 levels. This breathtaking arrogance was correctly described by former U.S. Sen. Bob Graham as “an insult” to Florida voters.
Instead of listening to the voters, legislators are appropriating funds not for land conservation but “items such as septic tanks, wastewater treatment plants and state agency operations that have been traditionally been funded with other revenue sources.”
It takes a special kind of arrogance to simply dismiss the will of 75% of Florida voters, and actually cut funding for land conservation. The legislature is betting Floridians aren’t paying attention. Let’s prove them wrong.