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Thread: Implementation of Amendent 1 (Land Conservation)

  1. #1

    Thumbs down Implementation of Amendent 1 (Land Conservation)

    Hate that it passed, but damage control has to start somewhere. Might as well make sure they don't make things worse.

    From Liberty First FL:

    Amendment One, The Florida Water and Land Conservation Act, passed in the November general election, requires that 33% of revenue from the Documentary Stamp tax must be allocated for conservation purposes to:

    “acquire, restore, improve, and manage conservation lands including wetlands and forests; fish and wildlife habitat; lands protecting water resources and drinking water sources, including the Everglades, and the water quality of rivers, lakes, and streams; beaches and shores; outdoor recreational lands; working farms and ranches; and historic or geologic sites, by dedicating 33 percent of net revenues from the existing excise tax on documents for 20 years.”

    Currently, federal, state and local government own 9.9 million acres of conservation land in Florida. The total land area of Florida is 34,721,280 acres, meaning that almost one third of Florida is owned by some level of government for conservation purposes. The state currently has difficulty maintaining and protecting the conservation land it already owns.

    Before any additional properties are purchased for conservation purposes, existing waterways, estuaries, rivers and other water bodies presently endangered should be restored.

    For example, discharges from Lake Okeechobee has flooded the Indian River Lagoon and created a blanket of brown-colored water leading to toxic algae blooms in the Lagoon’s waters. There is plenty of clean-up, maintenance, and restoration projects that need immediate attention before the state should be considering the purchase of anymore property.

    Dan Peterson, Executive Director of the Coalition of Property Rights published Priorities and Principles for allocating Amendment One funds. Here is an excellent point:

    Priority: Fund plans to properly manage and maintain currently owned state lands.

    Rationale: Government owns land under several agencies which are not managed as they should be. Often left as wilderness, they become a fire hazard, vulnerable to invasive plants, and over population of wild animals. These management and maintenance plans should be approved and made public before any new lands or easements are acquired.

    Click here for the full report from Dan Peterson.

    As legislators begin debating on how to spend conservation dollars, they should first consider:

    • Providing an accurate and current inventory of conservation land.
    • Provide a budget for maintaining current conservation land
    • Explanation of “critical need” for every acre of current conservation land.
    • All surplus land should be sold. Surplus lands are conservation land owned by the state that serve no environmental purpose.

    More reasons the Legislature should not allocate funds to purchasing more land:

    • Purchasing conservation land takes property off of the property tax rolls and reduces local government revenue. This will hinder budgeting for many counties. These county governments are not going to trim their budgets but raise taxes and fees on the taxpayers.
    • Revenue estimates show that 33% of documentary stamp tax will bring in approximately $750 million this year, and approximately $21.5 billion over 20 years. The real estate collapse of 2008 brought dramatic reduction in documentary tax revenue and with the economy still on shaky ground, it would be irresponsible to purchase property through bonding. Purchasing property through bonding increases state debt and annual debt service payments. Any downturns in the real estate market could expose citizens to higher taxes and fees to meet any revenue shortfall. The state purchasing more land also creates higher maintenance costs which will increase our current budget.
    • Legislators should use responsible budgeting and maintain sizable reserves for unseen economic downturns.


    1. The Senate Committee on Environmental Preservation and Conservation is currently taking public comment on the implementation of the Water and Land Conservation Amendment. It is crucial that we get as many people as possible submitting comments to stop any purchase of land until all current land is maintained and accounted for.

    Click here to submit your comments

    2. Call the members of the Senate Committee on Environmental Preservation and Conservation and simply tell them that Amendment One funding should be used to clean-up and maintain currently owned conservation land and not to purchase more land, almost 1/3 of Florida is already in conservation, the Florida Legislature needs to take care of what the state currently owns.

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  3. #2
    This can get ugly really quickly. Hopefully it can be stopped before it gets out of control

  4. #3
    Well, if Republicans keep to their creed and support property rights, then nothing bad will happen for now.

    Wait, these are Florida Republicans. We're screwed.

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