As you are aware, Environmental groups from across the state are rallying and calling your representatives in Tallahassee to buy more land while completely ignoring the fact that the state already owns millions of acres being held in disrepair.
The state of Florida owns enough acreage to equal a landmass the size of New Jersey, yet many of these groups think that the only use for Amendment 1 is to purchase more land. During the regular session your phone calls and emails were successful in minimizing the amount of money budgeted for the purchase conservation land with the House budget proposal allocating only $8 million and the Senate budget proposal allocating $15 million. Governor Rick Scott had proposed $100 million.
However, the fight is not over
Since the Legislature could not agree on a final budget during the regular session, the Legislature is now meeting in special session to finalize the state budget. Environmentalists now have another chance to force more money into the purchase of land.
We need you to call your representative and let them know that you want them to use the Amendment One money to take care of what they already have, not to buy more land. Enough is enough.
Don’t let the “buy everything” supporting environmentalists be the last voice your representatives hear.
The Special Session is convening RIGHT NOW. It is crucial that we make phone and e-mails NOW to stop unnecessary government land purchases by the state of Florida
Contact the legislative leadership
Speaker of the House Steve Crisafulli
(850) 717-5051 / firstname.lastname@example.org
Representative Richard Corcoran
(850) 717-5037 / email@example.com
Senate President Andy Gardiner
(850) 487-5013 /firstname.lastname@example.org
Florida Senator Tom Lee
(850) 487-5024 / email@example.com
Contact your Representative and Senator
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Additional Amendment One Information
The Florida Water and Land Conservation Act, which was passed in the 2014 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.”
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.
Why 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.