Written by Mariella Smith, as published on SticksofFire.com:
Gopher Tortoise Blood Money Robbed
For years, the state allowed developers to bury gopher tortoises alive, as long as they "mitigated" for killing the tortoises by paying into a fund which was set up specifically to buy and manage tortoise habitat. Now legislators are raiding that fund to use the money for — well, for whatever they want. They are:
"Removing $5-million, or half the available dollars this fiscal year, from a fund dedicated to building new habitats for gopher tortoises."
That's the gopher tortoise blood money fund. It's not tax money.
I have a problem with taking fees that were paid into a fund dedicated to a certain purpose, and using that money for purposes other than what was promised — breaking the promises made to those who paid the money, and to the citizens who were supposed to be made whole by the payment.
We were told that people who killed gopher tortoises had to pay to save the lives of other gopher tortoises. Now it turns out that those tortoise-killers merely paid a bounty to our legislators to use for, um, whatever.
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