Abridged from news release from Trust for Public Lands- dated November 5, 2008:
Florida Voters Approve Funds for Open Space, Despite Poor Economy
November 5, 2008…Tallahassee, FL…On November 4, voters nationwide approved $7.3 billion in new public money to protect land for parks and open space—the highest amount ever according to The Trust for Public Land, a national land conservation organization. Florida voters approved three of four county measures on the ballot generating $260 million in conservation funding. Overall, 62 out of 87 measures (or 71 percent) were passed by voters nationwide.
In Florida, Hillsborough County voters approved the state's largest measure, with an overwhelming 78 percent voting for a $200 million bond to continue Hillsborough County's program to acquire environmentally sensitive land. Other land conservation measures on the ballot in Florida yesterday included sales tax measures in Alachua and St. Johns Counties and measure in Flagler County backed by the property tax to continue that county's existing conservation land acquisition program.
A complete list of results from local and state balloting on conservation and parks is available online today from LandVote 2008—www.landvote.org.
"Tuesday's results demonstrate sustained support among Florida voters for new investments in land conservation, even in a very tough economic climate," said Will Abberger, associate director of conservation finance with The Trust for Public Land. "Florida voters understand the need to invest to preserve our land and water resources for future generations and that's just what these ballot measures will provide funding to do."
Passage of these local measures in Florida follows a growing track record of local conservation ballot measure success in Florida; Floridians have approved 80 percent of local land conservation funding measures since 1996.
Investments in land conservation are essential to the health of Florida's communities. Such investments protect air and water, safeguard wildlife habitat, create critical recreation opportunities close to home, and boost local economies by stabilizing property taxes, spurring revitalization, and supporting area businesses.
"Whether Democrat or Republican, voters seem to be of similar minds on one issue: conservation," said Will Rogers, president of The Trust for Public Land. "The results from 2008 continue a strong trend we have seen across the United States for the past decade: people want to preserve land in their communities, and they are willing to pay for it."