03-10-17 | Legislation
More Money for Florida Beach Restoration Proposed
State Legislature Considers Bills for Extra $50 Million a Year


According to Florida's chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, over half of the state's sandy beaches are eroding, and half of those are not part of a current restoration project.

The ongoing effort to improve land and water conversation in Florida, which received a big boost from a 2014 constitutional amendment, could result in as much as $161 million being allocated for it this year. That amount includes $50 million Gov. Rick Scott asked for in his budget, an extra $61 million he proposed to help communities struck by hurricanes Hermine and Matthew, and $50 million that some state legislators are now asking for.

If passed by the lawmakers, the money would come from the Land Acquisition Trust Fund, created by the amendment, known as Amendment 1, and supported by taxes levied on real estate documentary stamps. But these funds are fought over by various groups.

According to the Orlando Sentinel, the so-called Legacy Florida law enacted last year promises up to $200 million a year from the trust fund towards the restoration of the Everglades and Lake Okeechobee. Amendment 1's supporters would like to see $150 million a year dedicated to land conservation. And some lawmakers are against using trust fund dollars for land acquisition.

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