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Clean Water, Land, and Legacy Amendment

Clean Water, Land, and Legacy Amendment

Take a moment and remember November 2008. What images come to your mind? Do you conjure images of political commercials, door knockers, debates, a Presidential election, and more? November 2008 will go down in history for its presidential election. It was also a historic moment in Minnesota when over 1.6 million voters in Minnesota approved the Clean Water, Land, and Legacy Amendment. The following article provides a synopsis of what the Legacy Amendment means to you.

Legacy Amendment

According to John Croman of Kare 11 News, with the passage of the amendment, voters decided to “…tax themselves to protect wildlife, water, and their state’s cultural heritage.” This tax funds three primary areas:

  • Protect and preserve natural resources
  • Clean up polluted lakes
  • Preserve the arts and our cultural heritage

Funding

On July 1, 2009, Minnesota increased its state sales tax by 3/8 of a penny, increasing the previous sales tax of 6.5% to 6.875%. This increase will remain in effect for the next 25 years. According to the StarTribune, Steve Morse, Executive Director of the Minnesota Environmental Partnership, estimated that, “It (the amendment) will cost the average Minnesota household less than $5.00 a month.”

Allocation

The State of Minnesota expects that the additional .375% in sales tax will raise $400 million over the next two years. On May 18, 2009, the Minnesota Legislature passed the Clean Water, Land, and Legacy funding bill. This bill legislates use of the funds.According to State Senator Rick E. Olseen, Minnesota will allocate the funds as follows:

  • The Clean Water Fund will get $151 million for testing and clean-up of lakes, rivers, and streams in Minnesota.
  • The Outdoor Heritage Fund will receive $88 million to protect prairies, forests, wetlands, fish, game, and wildlife habitat.
  • The Parks and Trails Fund will get $65 million for parks and trails, to improve services for visitors and enhance protection of natural resources.
  • The Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund will get $93 million to fund the Minnesota Arts Board, Minnesota Historical Society, Minnesota Humanities Center, Perpich Center for Arts Education, Science and Children’s museums, and zoos.

Senator Satveer S. Chaudhary sums up the importance of this amendment to Minnesota by stating, “Our outdoor resources, our lakes and rivers, and our cultural amenities are the things that truly define our quality of life here in Minnesota… the passage of this dedicated-funding bill is just the beginning of our efforts to ensure that Minnesota’s future generations will be able to enjoy our natural resources for many years to come.”

Come to the VAN Forum on Tuesday, October 13, 2009 to hear Steve Morse, Executive Director of the Minnesota Environmental Partnership, speak about this amendment. Also, Mayor Mary Hamann-Roland of Apple Valley will discuss Apple Valley’s forward-thinking approach to energy sustainability. Both are working to create communities that are vital for all ages.

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