Proponents of Amendment 1 state that it would guarantee that $10 billion will be available over the next 20 years to preserve environmentally sensitive lands and water resources. The real impact of Amendment 1 has been estimated to be $20 billion over the next 20 years, nearly twice the amount claimed. Funding the conservation activities supported by Amendment 1 would be accomplished by using one-third of the documentary stamp tax revenue currently collected on real estate transactions.
Uninformed voters will soon decide whether to spend $20 billion from reading flowery language on a ballot, without having been provided any estimate of the cost of the conservation efforts, the true impact on our state or the programs which will lose funding due to the passage of the amendment.
Reallocating $20 billion to environmental causes will reduce funds currently available for transportation, affordable housing and economic enhancement and development trust funds — programs that have proven to consistently stimulate Florida’s economy and create jobs. Further, the amendment will result in a projected deficit in the state’s operating budget of $3.8 billion in the first 10 years alone.
While environmental preservation is important, Amendment 1 is not the appropriate vehicle to get there.
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Bernard E. Smith, board chair, Florida Housing Finance Corp., Jacksonville