| Combined $400 Million Proposed for Land Conservation|
|In the back-and-forth of budget negotiations, Senate appropriators Wednesday continued their support for a proposed $100 million for Florida Forever and added a proposal for another $300 million in pending federal economic relief funding, to be dedicated to Florida Forever acquisitions within the Florida Wildlife Corridor. On Friday, the House budget conferees matched the Senate’s offer on these items, concurring with the funding!|
This exciting investment will see important acquisitions in an ecological network identified for its habitat value and connectivity, with the transparency and public accountability of the Florida Forever program.
If federal economic relief funding comes to fruition, this will be a combined $400 million commitment to conservation land acquisition in the coming year! Kudos to both chambers investing in land protection to benefit our economy and ecology.
In addition, both committees agreed to spend $500 million of the federal relief funds for septic to sewer conversions and $100 million towards the clean-up of the Piney Point disaster. The House has also requested $500 million towards the Resilient Florida Trust Fund.
The federal stimulus funding would be in addition to other money in the House and Senate versions of the 2021-22 state budget. There are other outstanding items that need to be resolved between the two chambers, such as the Everglades Funding proviso, funding for springs, beach management, resiliency, and alternative water supply.
Unresolved budget issues are “bumped” to the presiding officers and Final Agreements are published as a Conference Report, which must remain open for 72 hours before each chamber votes on the final version.