Florida Water and Land Conservation Initiative, Amendment 1 (2014)
|Status:||On the ballot|
- 1 Text of measure
- 2 Fiscal note
- 3 Background
- 4 Support
- 5 Opposition
- 6 Media editorial positions
- 7 Path to the ballot
- 8 See also
- 9 External links
- 10 References
The Florida Water and Land Conservation Initiative, Amendment 1 is on the November 4, 2014, ballot in the state of Florida as an initiated constitutional amendment. The measure, upon voter approval, would dedicate thirty-three percent of net revenues from the existing excise tax on documents to the Land Acquisition Trust Fund.
Text of measure
The official title reads as follows:
|“||Water and Land Conservation - Dedicates funds to acquire and restore Florida conservation and recreation lands||”|
The official ballot text reads as follows:
|“||Funds the Land Acquisition Trust Fund 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.||”|
- See also: Article X, Florida Constitution
|SECTION 28. Land Acquisition Trust Fund. --
|“|| WATER AND LAND CONSERVATION – DEDICATES FUNDS TO ACQUIRE AND RESTORE FLORIDA CONSERVATION AND RECREATION LANDS, #12-04
This amendment does not increase or decrease state revenues. The state revenue restricted to the purposes specified in the amendment is estimated to be $648 million in Fiscal Year 2015-16 and grows to $1.268 billion by the twentieth year. Whether this results in any additional state expenditures depends upon future legislative actions and cannot be determined. Similarly, the impact on local government revenues, if any, cannot be determined. No additional local government costs are expected.
The Land Trust Acquisition Fund (LATF) was created by the Florida Legislature in 1963. The LATF was designed to fund the Outdoor Recreation and Conservation Program, which would primarily purchase land for parks and recreation areas. Originally, the legislature allocated revenue from a five percent tax on outdoor clothing and equipment, including bathing suits. In 1968, the legislature abandoned the tax and funded the LATF through the sale of recreation bonds. These bonds were paid for by a documentary stamp tax on real estate transactions and financial documents. Since 2009, however, appropriations for the fund have been slashed. The initiative is an attempt to provide a new revenue source for the LATF.
The measure is sponsored by the Florida's Water and Land Legacy, Inc.
- Florida Green Party
- Sierra Club
- The Nature Conservancy
- National Wildlife Federation
- The Trust for Public Land
- The Conservation Fund
- Defenders of Wildlife
- League of Women Voters
- League of Conservation Voters
- Audubon Florida
- Conservation Trust of Florida
- North American Butterfly Association
- North American Native Fishes Association
- Florida Wildlife Federation
- Florida Trail Association
- Florida Conservation Alliance
- Florida Conservation Coalition
- Florida Native Plant Society
- Florida Outdoor Recreation Coalition
- Florida Society for Ethical Ecotourism
- Federation of Garden Clubs
- American Planning Association, Florida Chapter
- 1000 Friends of Florida
- Sea Turtle Conservancy
- East Coast Greenway Alliance
- Amphibian and Reptile Conservancy
- Florida Consumer Action Network
- Progress Florida
- Democratic Environment Caucus of Florida
- Democratic Women’s Club of Florida
- UCF College Democrats
A Florida Water and Land Legacy video supporting Amendment 1.
- Allison DeFoor (R), former environmental advisor to Gov. Jeb Bush
- Will Abberger, the campaign chairperson for Florida’s Water and Land Legacy, said, “Having a source of clean drinking water, ensuring that the quality of our rivers, lakes and streams is good, and protecting our beaches, is something that is important enough that it shouldn’t be subject to whatever political winds are blowing in Tallahassee.”
- Rae Ann Wessel, director of Natural Resource Policy at the Sanibel Captiva Conservation Foundation, noted, “These are the things that make projects like preservation, conservation, and restoration pay for themselves, not in an obvious way sometimes, but it feeds the economy of Florida which is predominately underwritten by tourism.”
- Senate President Don Gaetz (R-1)
- House Speaker Will Weatherford (R-38)
- Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam (R)
- Florida Chamber of Commerce
- Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam (R) stated, “I've certainly demonstrated my support for buying easements and accomplishing water and wildlife benefits from the use of acquisition programs. But I'm troubled by writing into the constitution elements of the budget.”
- David Hart, the executive vice president of the Florida Chamber of Commerce, argued, “What our board historically has been concerned about is that we don’t follow the path of California, where so many mandates have been put in their constitution that their legislature is incapable of balancing the budget anymore.”
Media editorial positions
- Bradenton Herald said, "Voters will have to wrestle control of land acquisition and conservation away from politicians to put Florida back on the road to preserving land that will safeguard water, wildlife and vegetation. That opportunity exists today… Once a national leader in land conservation, Florida lost its way. Clean water and thriving ecosystems are vital to the state's quality of life and economic prosperity. Future generations will benefit from today's sound investments in public land."
- The Gainesville Sun said, “But is Florida still an immature society? With a population approaching 20 million, haven't we matured to the point that we ought to be about the business of preserving great swaths of unique Florida landscapes — beaches, wetlands, forests, lakes and rivers — for the benefit of our children and their children?… That's why it'll be up to the voters next year to impose some level of adult supervision over the Legislature's future use and abuse of Documentary Stamp funds.”
- Ocala Star Banner said, "Lawmakers who say that spending choices should be left in their hands fail to acknowledge their failure to protect Florida's environment. The Florida Forever program had funded conservation purchases, but the Legislature has slashed its funding more than 97 percent since 2009… Now that voters from across the state have helped put the Water and Land Legacy initiative on the ballot, more of us must help it get the 60 percent support needed for passage."
- The Tampa Tribune said, “There are no longer guarantees that Florida's environment will be adequately safeguarded, and that should concern all residents, as well as business leaders, who know Florida's natural beauty underpins its appeal. This is why voters need to enthusiastically back Florida's Water and Land Legacy Campaign — a drive to place a proposed amendment to Florida's constitution on the November 2014 ballot."
Path to the ballot
The initiative’s supporters needed to collect a minimum of 683,149 valid signatures by February 1, 2014 in order to qualify the measure for the November 2014 ballot. Proponents turned in 709,976 valid signatures to the Department of State.
The measure was certified for the ballot on January 17, 2014.
- Florida's Water and Land Legacy, Inc.
- Florida's Water and Land Legacy, Inc. Facebook
- Florida's Water and Land Legacy, Inc. Twitter
- Florida Secretary of State, "Water and Land Conservation", accessed January 15, 2014
- Florida Secretary of State, "Constitutional Petition Form," accessed January 20, 2014
- Florida Office of Economic & Demographic Research, "Financial Impact Statement", accessed January 20, 2014
- Florida Department of Environmental Protection, “Land Acquisition Programs”, accessed January 15, 2014
- Bradenton Herald, "Time for Florida voters to protect natural resources with Water and Land Conservation Amendment", August 28, 2013
- Florida's Water and Land Legacy, Inc.
- The Gainesville Sun, "Signatures are needed to put Florida Water and Land Conservation Amendment on the November 214 ballot", September 15, 2013
- The Gainesville Sun, "Alachua County among leaders in getting conservation initiative on ballot", January 18, 2014
- Florida's Water and Land Legacy, Inc., "Endorsements & Supporters", accessed January 15, 2014
- The Florida Current, "Former Bush advisor becomes chairman of group backing conservation lands amendment," February 13, 2014
- Tallahassee Democrat, "Gaetz: Amendment would shift too much land to state control", January 26, 2014
- Island Reporter, "Florida amendment to secure conservation funds makes it to 2014 ballot", January 27, 2014
- The Gainesville Sun, "Voters should have chance to invest in state’s natural legacy," December 1, 2013
- Ocala Star Banner, "Editorial: It matters to all Floridians", January 24, 2014
- The Tampa Tribune, "Up to voters to protect Florida's treasures", August 19, 2013
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