Columns

POINT: Florida-Loving Conservatives Have Many Reasons to Support Amendment 1

By: Allison DeFoor | Posted: June 5, 2014 1:53 PM
Allison DeFoor

Allison DeFoor

I am not a liberal; just a Florida Cracker. That is why I am voting for Amendment 1, the Water and Land Conservation Amendment.

I support Amendment 1 because, without raising new taxes, it will enhance drinking water sources, manage fish and wildlife habitats, add and restore lands, protect beaches and shores, and maintain state and local parks.

Amendment 1 requires that one-third of documentary stamp revenues, generated from house and land sales, be used exclusively over the next 20 years for these purposes. Think protecting the St. Johns from more algae blooms, or our springs from choking further. Down south, think of Indian River Lagoon, or Everglades restoration.

Supporting Amendment 1 falls squarely in line with my belief that conservation is all about conservative values and ideas. Conservation is, by definition, conservative. Republicans have a long tradition of it, nationally and in Florida. Teddy Roosevelt, Richard Nixon, George H.W. Bush were leaders. In Florida, Gov. Martinez created Preservation 2000. Gov. Jeb Bush created a similar effort, Florida Forever. In Jacksonville, Mayor John Delaney led the way in local conservation, creating a legacy that will continue for generations. All Republicans, like me.

Amendment 1 is also about the practical reality that unless we take steps toward conservation ourselves, we cannot count on others -- including lawmakers -- to do it for us. Funding in this area has fallen off the cliff in recent years. Over the 20 years of the life of this amendment, Florida's population will grow to 30 million. We act now, or we act never.

Conservatives believe that government spending should be directed first toward those limited number of things that only government can do well. Securing a clean water supply and the conservation of lands fall in the wheelhouse of this definition.

Conservatives also believe that whenever possible, government funding for these essential functions should not rely on higher taxes to get there.

Finally, conservatives believe that public spending should be tied to measurable returns on investment. In the case of Amendment 1, if clean water and preserved lands for future generations isn't enough, consider the impact of these assets on Florida's No. 1 economy: tourism. Fundamentally, only Hawaii and Alaska have their economy and environments as deeply tied together as we do in Florida. 

On top of that, it’s important to remember that every segment of Florida’s economy depends on the natural beauty that draws people and businesses to our state. Without pristine waters and unspoiled landscapes, Florida will lose the special appeal that has fueled our growth and prosperity.

Amendment 1 fulfills these principles: It ensures that our state dedicates adequate dollars into the most essential of public goods – protecting our waters and conserving our lands; it “lives within our means” by ensuring that taxes aren't raised to do so; and it provides an earnest return on investment for generations to come.

Many point to Theodore Roosevelt as the person who established the great American conservation movement. Indeed, Teddy Roosevelt led by example on this front, in part through the signing of Antiquities Act, which has since been used to proclaim about a quarter of all areas composing the national park system.

Ronald Reagan carried on in this tradition, both as governor of California and our nation's president. "In our own time, the nearly universal appreciation of these preserved landscapes, restored waters, and cleaner air through outdoor recreation is a modern expression of our freedom and leisure to enjoy the wonderful life that generations past have built for us," Reagan said.

If the people of Florida approve Amendment 1, we will together have secured our common interest in the most clear and direct way. And to this old Florida cracker, there's nothing as conservative as that.


Allison DeFoor is a former vice chair of the Republican Party of Florida and a seventh-generation Floridian. He was the Republican nominee for lieutenant governor in 1990, as running mate to Gov. Bob Martinez and served as “Everglades Czar” under Gov. Jeb Bush, where he helped put together the largest land restoration project in history. Allison currently chairs the Vote Yes On Amendment 1 campaign.


Comments (5)

Ed Dean, Radio Talk Show Host
12:19AM JUN 9TH 2014
Allison DeFoor makes some very interesting points. And yes, Conservatives should be more conservationist. But his argument sounds more like a environmentalist. There are two front's were I disagree
with DeFoor. 1. Allison DeFoor's argument's for supporting Amendment 1 (targeted at Republicans) is to invoke former Republican president's Teddy Roosevelt, Richard Nixon and George H.W. Bush. But the logic is weak. Teddy Roosevelt, in some way's properly wanted to conserve this country's national resources, unlike today's environmentalist. But according to Jean M. Yarbrough, author of Theodore Roosevelt and the American Political Tradition, Roosevelt sparked controversy, especially in the western states, by vastly expanding the national forest reserves and imposing regulations and fees on the use of public lands. Richard Nixon, signed into law, The Endangered Species Act, OSHA & EPA. 3 of the most burdensome anti business regulatory laws in history. George H.W. Bush, signed into law the Clean Water Act in 1990. An the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) significantly expanded the scope of federal regulation of wetlands. According to the Heritage Foundation, thousands of landowners were told that they could not use their own land because federal regulators now considered it to be a wetland protected under the Clean Water Act. Even National Journal called George H.W. Bush The Regulatory President. "American business under George Bush has experienced "the most imposing over-all extension of regulatory authority since Nixon." Number 2. DeFoor says,
"In the case of Amendment 1, if clean water and preserved lands for future generations isn't enough, consider the impact of these assets on Florida's No. 1 economy: tourism. He's correct. Florida's main economy is tourism, BUT NOT ECO-TOURISM. Disney, Sea World, Universal Studios is not eco-tourism. The Hard Rock gambling resorts are not eco-tourism. In fact, 2013-2014, Florida has seen has seen RECORD NUMBERS of tourism. Yes because of our nice beaches etc. But mainly because OF THE WARMER WEATHER. PERIOD. We have seen RECORD COLD temperatures throughout the rest of the country, and the warmer weather climate in Florida has been that reasoning for record numbers of tourist. I'm not here to throw Allison DeFoor under the bus. But some of his logics in promoting Amendment 1 fall short.
H.E. "Pete" Ashley
7:58PM JUN 8TH 2014
They do their best to justify confiscating more of the working person's income.
jaque bauer
3:20PM JUN 6TH 2014
No more taxes, fees, tolls, diversion of revenue, or any other gimmicks by any political entity, person, or legislator. Its time that money is squeezed from the bloated politicians salaries, slush funds and rainy day coffers for any new initiatives. You already screwed me on the Amazon deal, so that they collect Florida taxes. We are sick of our pockets being picked. For the record, I am a Tea Party Republican.
Robert Dominguez
11:35AM JUN 6TH 2014
Another conservative shell game, todays Republicans have nothing in common with Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt and Eisenhower which by the way was the last Republican to balance the budget!
C Breeze
9:38AM JUN 6TH 2014
"Amendment 1" is a definite "NO" ! ! ! A proposed costly "boondoggle" that will be laid on the backs of Florida's taxpayers. Allison deFoor is, and has always been, a Jeb Bush toadie; show me a man consistently wearing a bow-tie and I'll show you a status climbing dweeb who most likely doesn't believe in property rights, liberty, freedom and the 2nd Amendment either. DeFoor is one scary dude; wonder how he plans on dealing with the boa constrictors destroying the Everglades ("Everglades Czar" my butttt!!!) {Read the following Sunshine State News article under this one folk....The one that says "NO" to 'amendment 1'}

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