Title: "State Water Policy Hearing - H.B. 535. Florida Water Users Association Newsletter. April 15, 1981. 1p.
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Title: "State Water Policy Hearing - H.B. 535. Florida Water Users Association Newsletter. April 15, 1981. 1p.
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Funding: Digitized by the Legal Technology Institute in the Levin College of Law at the University of Florida.
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PHONE: 305/846-3345



Water Users Association


April 15, 1981 NEWSLETTER

SUBJECTS: State Water Policy Hearing H.B. 535 H.B. 473 S.B. 457 -
Annual NEDA Meeting

On February 27 Victoria J. Tschinkel, Secretary, Florida Department of
ntal Regulation, held a hearing in Tallahassee on tate water
<'4'1poeic A surprising number of changes to the draft copy of-te propos-
:-ar-tiat had been accepted by the five water management districts and
others were proposed by DER. The Policy Section had numerous changes,
including major recommendations from the Governor's office. The Secretary
deferred action on the Policy Section. The balance of the rule was adop-
ted and the hearing recessed until June 8, 1981. A policy statement
recognizing the rights of property owners to make consumptive uses of
underlying ground water and adjacent surface water was presented from
.the private sector. This item was the subject of controversy between
some of the Water Management Districts as a possible conflict with
state law and established permitting procedures. This proposal is under
study for revisions to eliminate objections and the Secretary remarked,
"If agreement is reached among districts, I would be prepared to adopt
an amendment on this subject during the hearing scheduled for June 8."
There seems to be a consensus on the part of most representatives of
the private sector that the sections adopted are acceptable.


House Bill 535 by Representatives Pajcic,
Thompson and..others.-would increase the
(documentary stamp tax)by 5 cents. The pro-
ceeds of the tax will go to the Water
Management Lands Trust Fund. Monies from
the fund will be allocated to the five
water management districts as follows:
South Florida, S.W. Florida and St. Johns
Districts 25% each; Suwannee and N.W.
Florida Districts 10% each. The Districts
will be required to put up $1 for each
$4 received from the fund. The bill is
automatically repealed July 21, 1991,
unless extended by the Legislature. It
is estimated $320 million would be raised
during the 10-year life. There are justi-
fiable land needs that will be purchased.
At present, the only source for acquisi-
tion money by the districts is ad valorem
taxes. The use of this source would place


a burden of increased taxes on property
owners for years.

A strong argument for the documentary stamp tax as a source of funding
is that the rapid development of Florida is a major cause of the prob-
lem, and therefore it is an equitable tax. A major concern of any plan
making large sums available for land purchases is how to control the
determination of actual land needs. The bill provides for the Secretary
of the Department of Environmental Regulation to allocate monies from
the trust fund to the Water Management Districts only to acquire the fee
or any lesser interest in lands necessary for the conservation and pro-
tection of water and water-related resources. Under pressure from power-
ful organizations riding on the recent adverse national publicity con-
cerning Florida water resources, there is danger of the taking of private
lands far beyond the needs of water management. It seems we are faced
with two major decisions; what tax source is best and how to place iron-
clad restrictions on the process for determine land needs.




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