Our Founding Fathers placed safeguards into our Constitution as a hedge or safeguard against government tyranny. As a result, America became an exceptional and unique place on earth by virtue of being founded upon the right of private citizens to own and use property.
Amendment One dangerously opens the door for government to own and control more land. That means less land is owned and control by private property owners. This amendment presents an alternative view to that intended by our founding fathers.
Today, more than 50% of the American west is owned by government. In the state of Utah, 87% of the land is owned and controlled by the federal government. Despite efforts by the state to reclaim their land, the federal government refuses to return it.
Giving government large sums of money to buy land puts Florida on a trajectory similar to Utah.
The intent of this amendment is primarily land acquisition for the purpose of conservation.
First, the amount of private lands on the tax rolls will be decreased. Therefore, tax revenues will decrease making less funding available for things like law enforcement, first responders, local services, infrastructure maintenance, and local education.** Local governments will have to raise property taxes or take the unprecedented step of cutting their budgets.
Second, more taxpayer money will need be diverted to pay for increased maintenance cost of ever increasing amounts of conservation lands.** Currently, the state lacks money to maintain the properties owned by government.
**Counties with the most land in government owned conservation lands, have the highest tax rates.
Amendment One restricts the Legislature’s ability and flexibility to budget or allocate funding for an array of state-wide critical needs such as transportation, education, affordable housing, and economic development, etc.
The purchase of land by government is a one-time expense. The maintenance of government property is a growing, on-going expense to also be accounted for. In other words, as government ownership of land increases, so maintenance costs increase including more employees, more facilities, and more equipment.
IMPACT ON THE STATE ECONOMY
Nearly one-third of Florida lands is used for agriculture. Agriculture, including farming and ranching, is one of our state’s top economic engines providing jobs and produce. And, Amendment One names both for purchase. The majority of lands put into conservation make little to no contribution to the economy. As private land with its real or potential contribution to our state’s economy is removed from production, it moves from becoming a producer of revenue to becoming a user of revenue. Thus, the state’s is weakened. Less land in production means our state is less productive and less competitive in the world.
IMPACT ON THE ENVIRONMENT
Today, more than 27% of Florida is already in conservation (The Florida Natural Areas Inventory). Add lands for government facilities and the amount of land owned by government is more than 30%.
Florida has more land per square mile under government ownership than any other state east of the Mississippi River. The amount of government owned land will be greatly increased if a projected $18 B were to become available for additional land purchases.
Sustainable Development groups have plans to purchase millions of additional acres for additional parks, wildlife refuges, wildlife corridors, forests and conservation areas, just to name a few. Amendment One supplies our local tax cash to do so.
Amendment One would be an unneeded and harmful addition to the Florida Constitution. It will reduce the amount of privately owned property and negatively impact local revenues. It also intrudes on the legislature’s fiduciary responsibility to allocate our state’s revenues in the interests of our entire state.
Nearly one-third of our state is owned by government. Approximately another third is in agriculture. Documentary transaction stamps are already used to fund a number or environmental programs. A growing economy already allows for more money to be allocated for government land purchases.
Arizona Senator Judy Burges LD22 – Speaks Against Agenda 21 http://wp.me/p2hHX1-en
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David Hart, the executive vice president of the Florida Chamber of Commerce, argued, “What our board historically has been concerned about is that we don’t follow the path of California, where so many mandates have been put in their constitution that their legislature is incapable of balancing the budget anymore.”
Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam (R) stated, “I’ve certainly demonstrated my support for buying easements and accomplishing water and wildlife benefits from the use of acquisition programs. But I’m troubled by writing into the constitution elements of the budget.”
Increases tax burden on everyone as more than $500 million per year in tax revenue is diverted to purchase land that will be owned and controlled by government.
Increases tax burden on everyone by removing revenue-producing private property from our tax rolls over the next 20 years.
Handcuffs legislators in the budget process by restricting use of funds from the Land Acquisition Trust Fund for other essential and critical needs in our state
STOP LAND GRAB – Vote NO Amendment 1