Question As It Appeared on the Ballot
Clean Water, Wildlife, Cultural Heritage and Natural Areas
"Shall the Minnesota Constitution be amended to dedicate funding to protect our drinking water sources; to protect, enhance, and restore our wetlands, prairies, forests, and fish, game, and wildlife habitat; to preserve our arts and cultural heritage; to support our parks and trails; and to protect, enhance, and restore our lakes, rivers, streams, and groundwater by increasing the sales and use tax rate beginning July 1, 2009, by three-eighths of one percent on taxable sales until the year 2034?”
In November, Minnesotans overwhelmingly supported passage of the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment.
This amendment to the Minnesota Constitution increased the state sales tax by 3/8 of one percent to fund clean water projects, wildlife habitat, natural areas, parks and cultural heritage projects.
Spending the Funds Wisely
The Nature Conservancy and its supporters played an important role in passing this historic amendment, and now we are working hard to ensure the funding is spent wisely and strategically.
We are talking with members of the Lessard-Sams Outdoor Heritage Council, which is charged with making recommendations to the Minnesota Legislature on how to spend the 33 percent of the funds designated for wildlife habitat protection, to share information and serve as a resource.
We are helping facilitate meetings with other environmental and sportsmen’s organizations to develop large, collaborative and visionary land and water conservation proposals to bring to the Council. A great example is the landmark Upper Mississippi Forest project, which was recently approved by the Legislature and Gov. Pawlenty after receiving the Council’s backing.
And, thanks to the generous support of our donors, the Conservancy will be able to leverage this new public funding to also ensure that other critical conservation opportunities can still be accomplished.
Big Rewards For Our Water, Our Land, Our Children
The Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment is an historic opportunity to continue Minnesota’s strong tradition of environmental stewardship and leave a legacy to future generations. If we use the funding wisely, we can:
- Clean up our lakes and streams, 40 percent of which
no longer meet federal water quality standards;
- Protect our natural areas even as Minnesota continues
growing faster than any other state in the Midwest;
- Provide increased access for hunting, fishing, wildlife
watching and other outdoor recreation opportunities; and
- Make sure our kids have the clean water and
opportunities to explore nature they need to grow
up healthy and strong.