Stew Lilker’s

Columbia County Observer

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Florida News

Florida's Amendment 1 Placed on Nov. Ballot

TALLAHASSEE, FL - This November, Florida voters will have the chance to take part in a historic vote. (click logo for more info.)

The Legacy Amendment - now classified as Amendment 1 - will be on the ballot.

If it passes, it would dedicate a portion of the state's real estate transfer fee to water and land conservation.

Manley Fuller, president of the Florida Wildlife Federation, says the consistent funding stream is necessary to protect one of the state's greatest environmental and economic resources.

"Florida has experienced tremendous population growth," he points out. "It has incredible natural resources, but we believe that we need a long-term, steady commitment of resources for our conservation lands."

To get on the ballot, the amendment's supporters got more than 700,000 signatures, and approval from the state Supreme Court and the Florida Department of State.

Opponents of the amendment say it gives the state government too much control of the land.

If passed, 33 percent of the state's documentary stamp tax revenue - paid when real estate is sold - would be dedicated to land conservation, provide for outdoor recreation, managing existing lands and protection of lands critical to the water supply.

Fuller reminds voters this is not a new tax, just an allocation of what they're already paying.

"We think that this is a win-win situation for Florida," he says. "And the voters have the opportunity to express their opinion in November 2014 on the Legacy Amendment."

The amount of money collected by Amendment 1 from the existing stamp tax amounts to less than 1 percent of the state budget.

Fuller stresses it's important to note that the Legacy Conservation Lands Program would not force any landowner to sell to the trust or agree to an easement.

Photos/graphics and links added by the Observer

Photo: JohnMoranphoto.com

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