“Repealing the previous year’s cuts to water management district budgets is essential to financing Everglades restoration and other water resource programs,” said Audubon Florida executive director Eric Draper. “This bill reflects growing consensus that protecting our water supplies requires public funds.”
In 2011, SB 2142 forced Florida’s five water management districts into severe staff cuts along with scaling back science, education, water supply, and resource protection programs. The deep cuts to the water management agencies led legislative leaders and Governor Rick Scott to acknowledge the need to repeal spending limits.
“It is a sign of maturity when legislative leaders acknowledge they went too far and reverse direction,” Draper said.
The bill also reestablishes a balanced review and approval process by the legislative and executive branches as the citizen appointed boards of the regional agencies put together annual budgets and set property tax limits as allowed by the Florida Constitution and state law.
Draper called on Governor Scott to allow the water management districts to now raise and spend the funds necessary to steward’s Florida’s dwindling freshwater resources. “It makes sense to use property taxes to provide water for people and the economy while protecting our environment.”