Governor Rick Scott proposed a dedicated source of revenue that will provide more than $5 billion for Everglades restoration over the next 20 years as part of his 2015-2016 “KEEP FLORIDA WORKING” budget. If passed by the Legislature, $150 million will go towards Everglades restoration this year. In addition, Governor Scott’s proposed budget also includes $150 million that will be allocated toward land acquisition and management which will focus in part on protecting land for the Florida panther.
Governor Scott said, “Florida has an abundance of natural resources that help create a foundation for our growing economy, whether it is driving our state’s tourism industry or providing a great quality of life that has attracted families to our state for generations. During my first term, we made historic investments in our springs and Everglades and I am proud to continue to make important investments in our environment this year. We will keep working to make sure we preserve our natural treasures so Florida can continue to be a top destination for families, visitors and businesses.”
As part of the $5 billion investment, Governor Scott is committed to fully funding the state’s share of the restoration of the Kissimmee River and the construction of the C-43 and C-44 reservoirs over the next four years. Collectively these projects will provide more than 100 billion gallons of storage to protect our estuaries from discharges of water from Lake Okeechobee. The dedicated source of funding for Everglades restoration will also allow for the Department of Environmental Protection and the South Florida Water Management District to identify and fund additional storage projects in the future – and provide the certainty that a restored Everglades will become a reality.
The Governor will release his full “KEEP FLORIDA WORKING” budget recommendations this week