Some of the driving forces behind the Amendment 1 referendum blasted state lawmakers Thursday evening for budget plans that would put a tiny fraction of the money set aside by the initiative toward the purchase of conservation land.
During a panel discussion sponsored by The Gainesville Sun and the Bob Graham Center for Public Policy organized on the University of Florida campus, Graham, a former Florida governor and U.S. senator, said budget plans in the Florida Senate and House were “an insult” to the 75 percent of the voters who approved the water and land conservation measure.
The referendum is projected to set aside more than $700 million for the state’s land acquisition trust fund next year, and advocates saw it as a way to restore funding for the Florida Forever program. For decades, that land acquisition program received $300 million annually for land conservation but saw major cuts after the recession.
Even with Amendment 1 in place, a House budget panel recommended $10 million for Florida Forever, and a Senate panel has a plan for $2 million to go into the program. Read More.