Miami Herald: The Pain Continues for Amendment 1 Support

Environmental groups hoping the Florida Senate would do better than the House in respecting the intent of Amendment 1 were disappointed on Thursday.

The Senate’s appropriations subcommittee on general government, which is chaired by Sen. Al Hays, R-Umatilla, released its $4 billion spending plan for next year. It includes the Senate’s plan on following the new constitutional amendment, passed overwhelmingly by voters in November, that requires 33 percent of documentary stamp revenues be spent to buy, restore, improve and manage conservation lands.

The Senate proposes spending $714.2 million on Amendment 1, which is about $58 million less than what the House proposed and $43 million less than what Gov. Rick Scott set aside for it.

The Senate’s proposed budget includes just $2 million to fund land acquisition under Florida Forever, an 84 percent cut from this year’s budget, which passed before Amendment 1 was approved..

Florida Forever was created in 1999 to allocate funds for public land acquisition and was initially authorized to spend $300 million a year. But since the recession, it has struggled. In 2011, it wasn’t funded at all. In this year’s budget, lawmakers set aside $17 million, of which $5 million went to deals with private landowners.

Yet this year’s proposal of $2 million, just months after Amendment 1 passed, is an affront, said Will Abberger, chair of the Amendment 1 sponsor committee.

Environmental groups hoping the Florida Senate would do better than the House in respecting the intent of Amendment 1 were disappointed on Thursday.

The Senate’s appropriations subcommittee on general government, which is chaired by Sen. Al Hays, R-Umatilla, released its $4 billion spending plan for next year. It includes the Senate’s plan on following the new constitutional amendment, passed overwhelmingly by voters in November, that requires 33 percent of documentary stamp revenues be spent to buy, restore, improve and manage conservation lands.

The Senate proposes spending $714.2 million on Amendment 1, which is about $58 million less than what the House proposed and $43 million less than what Gov. Rick Scott set aside for it.

The Senate’s proposed budget includes just $2 million to fund land acquisition under Florida Forever, an 84 percent cut from this year’s budget, which passed before Amendment 1 was approved..

Florida Forever was created in 1999 to allocate funds for public land acquisition and was initially authorized to spend $300 million a year. But since the recession, it has struggled. In 2011, it wasn’t funded at all. In this year’s budget, lawmakers set aside $17 million, of which $5 million went to deals with private landowners.

Yet this year’s proposal of $2 million, just months after Amendment 1 passed, is an affront, said Will Abberger, chair of the Amendment 1 sponsor committee.

Read more here: http://miamiherald.typepad.com/nakedpolitics/2015/03/the-pain-continues-for-amendment-1-supporters-with-release-of-senate-plan.html#storylink=cpy

http://miamiherald.typepad.com/nakedpolitics/2015/03/the-pain-continues-for-amendment-1-supporters-with-release-of-senate-plan.html

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