News Clips: Florida Forever and Governor Scott’s Budget
Tampa Bay Times: Gov. Rick Scott proposes $74.2 billion budget
On the environment, Scott wants to steer more money into programs than in his two previous budgets by earmarking $75 million for the Florida Forever land-buying program and another $60 million for the state’s share of Everglades restoration.
“It’s starting to put environmental spending back on track where it used to be,” said Eric Draper of Audubon of Florida. “Gov. Scott is starting to make the environment a priority. This does seem like a different Gov. Scott. We’re seeing his office listening more.“
To pay for Florida Forever land buys, Scott proposes using $50 million from state land sales.
Florida Current: Budget: Governor requests more money for conservation land-buying, Everglades restoration
“It feels like we have turned a corner with Governor Scott,” said Eric Draper, executive director of Audubon Florida and chairman of the Florida Forever Coalition. “This budget seems to be a good environmental budget.“
WPTV: Rick Scott’s budget brings cheers for environmental items
“This is really good news on both fronts,” said Eric Draper, executive director of Audubon Florida. “It’s the first time in several years that we will see over $130 million in potential funding for both these programs.“
“With the economy recovering, it is important to allocate funds to preserve our state’s natural areas and protect the places that make Florida special,” the Florida Forever Coalition said in a statement. “We look forward to working alongside the governor this legislative session to advocate for the appropriation of funds for Florida Forever.“
The Bradenton Times: Governor Scott Wins Mostly Praise With Budget
The Florida Forever Coalition (Audubon Florida, Defenders of Wildlife, Florida Recreation and Park Association, Florida Wildlife Federation, 1000 Friends of Florida, and the Trust for Public Land) praised the governor’s inclusion of $75 million for Florida Forever, the successor of the state’s Preservation 2000 program, which allocates funds for public land acquisition through the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, the water management districts, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, the Florida Forest Service, and through Florida Community Trust grants to local governments.
“The Governor’s Florida Forever budget recommendation is a positive step forward for Florida. His $75 million recommendation puts Florida Forever back on the right track,” said the group in a prepared statement. “With the economy recovering, it is important to allocate funds to preserve our state’s natural areas and protect the places that make Florida special. We look forward to working alongside the Governor this legislative session to advocate for the appropriation of funds for Florida Forever.“
WFSU Audio: Capital Report: Scott Rolls Out Budget
Audubon Florida’s Eric Draper said:
“Florida Forever went from less than $10 million to $75 million…that’s a pretty significant increase.“