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House and Senate Divided on How to Increase Land Acquisition Trust Funding

February 22nd, 2018 by Jake Stofan

In 2014 three out of four voters told the Legislature they want more funding for land conservation, but the Legislature justified ways to spend the money elsewhere.

Now, lawmakers are trying to make sure the money gets to where it needs to be.

 

“It’s another step in the right direction,” said Florida Conservation Voters Executive Director, Aliki Moncrief.

Both the House and Senate have their own ideas when it comes to how the increase should look.

In the Senate, Rob Bradley is proposing $100 million to go to the Land Acquisition Trust Fund. No money could be spent on administrative costs.

 

“To make sure that all the dollars go towards what I think is an appropriate use of those dollars,” said Bradley.

In the House, Representative Matt Caldwell would spend a total of $200 million. Most of the money would pay outstanding debts, with $57 million left over to specifically go towards purchasing land.

 

“We enjoy those properties so having those conserved for ourselves and our children, our grandchildren is key,” said caldwell.

Environmental advocates say both proposals have an upsides and a downside.

The Senate allows the funds to be used for water management and the House allows money to go toward administrative costs.

 

“That money really needs to be focused on where voters intended and that’s conserving lands for people, conserving lands for wildlife and conserving lands to protect our waters,” said Moncrief.

While the two bills may differ, lawmakers say they believe a compromise can be reached.

Two weeks remain for those details to be worked out, and if they don’t agree, voters will be no worse off then they are now.

The House’s although smaller initially, bill increases funding over time. It would allocated $200 million for land acquisition by 2029.

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