The Real Deal Miami

Environmentalists push for conservation amendment

The measure would set aside real estate taxes to protect land

September 29, 2014 03:45PM

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Everglades National Park

Everglades National Park

In November, environmentalists will ask voters to approve a constitutional amendment — Amendment 1 on the ballot — that sets aside a third of taxes collected on real estate transactions over the next 20 years to conserve land and protect water.

The effort could potentially raise $10 billion and has already won support from a variety of Florida interests including animals rights groups, local garden clubs, kayakers, bikers and even surfers, according to the Miami Herald.

More than 700,000 signatures were collected to place the amendment on the ballot, but to pass 60 percent of voters must approve the Florida Water and Land Conservation Amendment.

“All we’re saying in Amendment 1 is we want to restore that funding [which was cut in recent years] and not have it subject to the political whims here in Tallahassee,” said Will Abberger, the campaign manager for the drive and director of conservation finance at The Trust for Public Land.

However, others are concerned that the amendment would be a burden on the budget.

“We absolutely want to protect land. The question, though, is can we do it without embedding it in our constitution,” said David Hart, executive vice president of the Florida Chamber of Commerce. “What happens if we have another recession?” [Miami Herald]Christopher Cameron

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