How should Fla. spend environment doc stamp money?
FL voters approved an amendment to the state constitution that requires one third of documentary stamp revenue collected on real estate sales to be placed into the Land Acquisition Trust Fund.
Palm Coast, FL – January 13, 2015 – In November 2014, Florida voters approved an amendment to the state constitution that requires one third of documentary stamp revenue collected on real estate sales to be placed into the Land Acquisition Trust Fund and spent on a variety of environmental programs and initiatives.
"Implementing this amendment is a historic responsibility and a tremendous opportunity to make a significant impact on the future of water and natural resources policy in our state," says Senate President Andy Gardiner (R-Orlando). "It is important for all interested Floridians to make their voices heard on existing and new programs to improve and protect Florida's environment."
The Senate Committee on Environmental Preservation and Conservation will draft legislation to implement the new amendment, and it's accepting comments from Floridians on the Senate's Water and Land Conservation page. Over the next few months, the committee says it will conduct a number of meetings to discuss and review the comments as they prepare legislation for the 2015 Session.
"We will preserve all comments and maintain them as part of our committee record," says committee Chair Senator Charlie Dean (R-Inverness). "We plan to provide frequent updates and hope interested Floridians will sign up for the Senate Tracker, which will allow them to stay informed about the ongoing work of our committee."
The amendment allows flexibility on how the environmental money is spent. Some possible uses include land acquisition, land improvement, conservation easements, and projects that improve Florida's beaches or outdoor recreation areas.
To comment on environmental use of doc stamp money, visit the Florida Senate website.
© 2015 Florida Realtors®. All rights reserved. Reprinted with permission.
Open Space Makes All The Difference
Florida should spend the money collected from this process in a way that respects the will of the electorate who overwhelmingly supported the measure, with land acquisition through outright fee simple purchase or the use of well written and enforceable conservation easements (CE’s). Despite what many inaccurately believe, conserved lands and open space are not a burden on communities or property taxpayers. On the contrary, because these lands do not require the town services needed by residential and commercial development and their very existence enhances the property values around them, the net benefit of conserving open space is a positive for communities. A community’s sense of place is enhanced by open space and the money saved by not needing to build schools and other infrastructure to support these lands provides the balance needed against unbridled development. I encourage folks to visit the Land Trust Alliance web site at LTA.org to learn more about the Land Trust movement as well as ConserveFlorida.org and Nature.org.