It’s been a busy three weeks at the Capitol. With every passing day of the Legislative Session, lawmakers decide how Florida will look in the future. Will we conserve our land and water for generations to come, or allow our remaining natural lands to be bought and sold for more urban and suburban sprawl?
This week, the State House of Representatives and State Senate released their preliminary budgets for some of our most important water and land conservation programs, including the all-important Florida Forever program.
In contrast to the House’s paltry proposed Florida Forever budget of $20 million, the Senate has smartly proposed $125 million for land and water conservation – $25 million above the Governor’s requested $100 million. The Senate budget includes $92M for Land Acquisition (DEP ARC List), $10M for Florida Communities Trust (FCT), $8.6M for the Rural and Family Lands Protection Program (RFLPP), $12.3M for Florida Recreation Development Assistance Program (FRDAP), and $2M for FCT Working Waterfronts.
We support the suite of programs that make up Florida Forever, including the Acquisition and Restoration Council’s Florida Forever Priority List, and the programs listed above. To see the Senate’s budget include these programs is a breath of fresh air and a good start to what will be a tough negotiation. Of course, our goal is to return annual funding for this program to $300M a year, but the Senate’s offer is a great building block for future work.
FCV’s Legislative Team will continue advocating for water and land conservation, and help grow the Senate’s proposed budget. We invite you to join us as Conservation Voters and send emails and Tweets to your legislators.
Join us by visiting our Take Action page and let your legislators know that will not let them underfund Florida Forever without a fight.