Last week, with unanimous support, the Senate passed Sen. Carrie Ruud’s, R-Breezy Point, Legacy Finance bill.

This year’s bill appropriates $117,915,000 to the Lessard-Sams Outdoor Heritage Fund.

Appropriations for the Legacy Fund are a result of an amendment made to the Minnesota constitution in 2008 which allocates three-eighths of 1% of the sales tax to preserving Minnesota’s natural resources. The fund protects drinking water sources, restores wetlands and fish and wildlife habitats, preserves arts and cultural heritage, and supports the restoration of lakes, rivers and streams.

This year’s original bill would have allocated $137 million in Legacy funds. Given the economic forecast from the Minnesota Management and Budget projects a budget deficit, it was decided making a $20 million cut would protect funding for future projects.

“Reducing this year’s funding was not an easy decision but given the unique circumstances we are in I am thankful for the partnership with the House and OHF that led to this compromise,” Ruud said in a news release. “Over the years, we have faithfully adhered to the recommendations from the Outdoor Heritage Fund, Clean Water Fund, Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund, and the Parks and Trails Fund. This year we are in a unique position and rather than picking winners and losers, we kept funding fair between all recipients. If additional funding is needed for any of the projects, we are committed to addressing that next year.

“This is a good, solid bill. I am proud of our commitment to preserving Minnesota’s incredible beauty, culture, and resources for generations to come.”

The bill awaits Gov. Tim Walz’s signature.