Governor Scott recently announced that he was requesting $50 million in the 2018-2019 state budget for Florida Forever. The Florida Conservation Coalition is disappointed in this meager request for Florida's preeminent land conservation program. Please see our full statement below.
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Florida Conservation Coalition Dissapointed by Governor Scott's 2018 Budget Request for Florida Forever
Governor Scott’s request for $50 million for Florida Forever in the coming year does not meet the needs of this critical program or fulfill the intent of voters who overwhelmingly approved the Water and Land Conservation Amendment in 2014.
The Florida Conservation Coalition believes the largest share of Water and Land Conservation Amendment Funds, approximately $300 million this year, should be allocated for statewide land conservation programs including the Florida Forever Priority List, Rural and Family Lands Protection Program, and Florida Communities Trust program.
We hope the Legislature will show a stronger commitment to the future of our state by passing legislation allocating significant annual funding from the Land Acquisition Trust Fund to Florida’s vital land conservation programs.
“All we’re asking is that current state leadership continue a decades-long tradition of protecting the lands that are critical for our economy and our quality of life,” FCC Chairman and Former Florida Governor Bob Graham said.
Floridians are already witnessing the consequences of uncontrolled development on our natural resources, and 7 million more Floridians are projected to arrive by 2035. Flooding was exacerbated in the wake of Hurricane Irma by the millions of acres of wetlands and uplands that have been paved over in our state. Our water supply is stressed and expensive to clean, and misguided development is destroying important wildlife habitat.
“We have to decide the kind of Florida we want to leave behind for future generations. The only way to leave behind a better Florida is to make significant investments to conserve Florida’s most critical natural and working landscapes now,” said Senator Graham.