Reader Opinion: Legislative attack on Legacy Amendment
I am still angry! Republican Representative Josh Heintzeman and his legislative friends were able to rob $22 million from the Legacy Amendment Clean Water Fund. Here is how they did it: They cut general fund money for conservation districts by $2...
I am still angry! Republican Representative Josh Heintzeman and his legislative friends were able to rob $22 million from the Legacy Amendment Clean Water Fund. Here is how they did it: They cut general fund money for conservation districts by $22 million, and then to replace that amount, they robbed $22 million from the Legacy funds. Representative Heintzeman and the Legislature did this in spite of an uproar from sportsmen and conservation groups, and editorials by the major newspapers across the state which spoke against the attack by the Legislature on the Legacy Amendment. Think of what the Legislature did with the stroke of a pen, compared with the monumental task for a conservation group, such as Minnesota Ducks Unlimited, to raise $22 million for clean water projects.
Remember that the Legacy Amendment came about as conservation groups and citizens saw how for years the Legislature underfunded the care and protection of our state's natural resources. To agree that this is true one only has to look at the degraded water quality of our lakes and rivers, especially in western and southern Minnesota. Modeled after the state of Missouri, the Legacy Amendment designates a small portion of the state sales tax to support the stewardship of the state's woods, waters, fields, and wildlife; enhance and expand state parks and trails; and to promote the state's arts and cultural heritage. The Legacy Amendment funds for these efforts were intended as an addition to the regular state budget, not as a replacement for it.
Legislators like Representative Heintzeman probably think that sportsmen will vote for them no matter what damage they do to conservation as long as they have a good rating from the NRA.