Florida Forever is Florida’s premier conservation and recreation lands acquisition program, a blueprint for conserving natural resources and renewing Florida’s commitment to conserve the state’s natural and cultural heritage.
New Florida Governor Rick Scott's budget was released Monday afternoon (2/7/2011) and contains no funding for Florida Forever. While this is a disappointment, our efforts are undeterred. We look forward to working with the state Legislature in the coming months to make sure that Florida Forever is adequately funded. The following are pertinent items from Gov. Scott's budget:
*No funding for Florida Forever.
*A reorganization of State government that includes moving the Division of State Lands (which governs Florida Forever transactions) from the Department of Environmental Protection to the Department of Management Services, which has no conservation mission.
*Major changes to the distribution of Documentary Stamp Tax revenue -- the historic backbone of Florida Forever -- and raids of the trust funds intended to protect Florida Forever funds.
As you know, Gov. Rick Scott's newly released budget blueprint strips funding for the hugely successful Florida Forever program, and raids the trust fund to pay for non-conservation related activities.
Florida Forever is the largest public land acquisition program of its kind in the United States, and is critical to preserving Florida's natural and cultural heritage. Since its creation in 2001, more than 2.4 million acres have been purchased and protected under the program.
Fortunately, as a member of the Florida Legislature, you have the opportunity to stand up for our natural heritage and ensure that Rick Scott's budget suggestions do not become a reality.
When you meet with other elected officials in Tallahassee this March, please ensure Florida Forever has the funding and support it needs.
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