Voters in Florida overwhelmingly approved Amendment 4, The Florida Conservation Land Amendment, a measure that will lower property taxes on lands set aside for conservation. Amendment 4, which was supported by Florida Governor Charlie Crist, was approved by 68.4 percent of Florida voters. A 60 percent majority was required.
As we reported last week, the amendment will provide tax incentives to private landowners who manage their land for conservation purposes, eliminates property taxes on lands placed in a perpetual conservation easement, and give landowners financial incentives to prevent lands with wildlife habitat from being developed. The tax exemption will apply to property taxes beginning in 2010.
According to the Environment News Service, a diverse coalition of more than 80 business groups, not-for-profits, and environmental groups supported the proposition, including the Florida Chamber of Commerce, Allied Sportsmen’s Association of Florida, Bream Fishermen Association and nationally renowned naturalist Jim Fowler, a host of the popular television program Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom.
“It’s nice to see the good guys win one for a change.’ said Eric Draper, Audubon of Florida deputy director and one of the original architects of the amendment. “And in this case, the good guys are every conservation-minded Floridian who would rather see their land used to for habitat and open spaces instead of condos and shopping centers. “The people of Florida’s support for Amendment 4 proves just how important conservation is to Floridians, and with their help, we look forward to restoring our state’s great natural abundance.” said Draper.