In Miami this week, Governor Scott announced plans to spend $150 million in his next budget for Everglades restoration. He also stated that he intends to ask legislators to dedicate a quarter of all Amendment 1 revenues over the next 20 years to Everglades projects. According to recent estimates, this could amount to approximately $5 billion – an amount that certainly would help complete many of the projects that have stalled during the economic recession.
Lawmakers will still have to decide how to allocate Amendment 1 funds this session, as existing distribution formulas must be revised to accommodate the 33% of documentary stamp revenues that must be directed toward land acquisition and the protection, restoration and management of Florida’s natural resources.
The Governor’s Recommended Appropriation Bill was released on Wednesday. Among the highlights in the Governor’s proposed budget are the following environmental and agricultural appropriations:
- Mosquito control programs - $2.66 million. This represents a decrease of approximately $130,000 from last year.
- Drinking water Revolving Loan Program - $95.86 million. This represents an increase of approximately $18.67 million from last year.
- Wastewater Revolving Loan Program - $191.1 million. This represents an increase of approximately $48.4 million from last year.
- Small County Wastewater Treatment Grants - $16 million. This represents a decrease of $5 million from last year.
- Springs Restoration - $50,000,000. This is double last year’s appropriation.
- Beach Renourishment - $25 million. This figure is equal to the Governor’s recommendation from last year, but $22 million less than was ultimately appropriated by the Legislature.
- Citrus research - $8 million. This is double last year’s appropriation.