Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment
On Nov. 4, 2008, Minnesota voters approved a proposed Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment. During the 2008 session, the Minnesota Legislature agreed to place the amendment on the ballot.
Below are answers to frequently asked questions about the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment.
The question that was on the 2008 General Election ballot stated:
"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?"
How much money will this raise and what would it be used for?
The current general sales and use tax rate is 6.5%. Sales tax revenue is deposited in the state General Fund. The amendment will increase the general sales and use tax rate by three-eighths of one percentage point (0.375%) to 6.875% and dedicate the additional proceeds as follows:
• 33% to a newly created Outdoor Heritage Fund to be spent only to restore, protect, and enhance wetlands, prairies, forests, and habitat for game, fish, and wildlife (approximately $80 million in FY 2010 and $91 million in FY 2011);
• 33% to a newly-created Clean Water Fund to be spent only to protect, enhance, and restore water quality in lakes, rivers, streams, and groundwater, with at least 5% of the fund spent to protect drinking water sources (approximately $80 million in FY 2010 and $91 million in FY 2011);
• 14.25% to a newly created Parks and Trails Fund to be spent only to support parks and trails of regional or statewide significance (approximately $35 million in FY 2010 and $39 million in FY 2011);
• 19.75% to a newly created Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund to be spent only for arts, arts education, and arts access, and to preserve Minnesota’s history and cultural heritage (approximately $48 million in FY 2010 and $54.5 million in FY 2011).
These figures are estimates from the Minnesota Department of Revenue; the total amount of money available from future sales tax receipts can be greatly affected by general economic conditions in the state.
The money dedicated under the constitutional amendment will be appropriated by law. The dedicated money must supplement traditional funding sources for these purposes and could not be used as a substitute.
Will the DNR receive this money?
These dollars will not go directly to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR). The Legislature will make final funding decisions based on the merits of any proposed projects. Projects can be proposed by the DNR as well as other organizations and agencies.
The constitutional amendment states that funds can only be used for projects that meet the criteria established by law. That is, they must restore, protect, and enhance wetlands, prairies, forests, and habitat for game, fish, and wildlife; protect, enhance, and restore water quality in lakes, rivers, streams, and groundwater; and support parks and trails of regional or statewide significance.
What are the DNR’s long-range conservation plans and strategies?
How are spending decisions being made?
Learn more about how the Lessard Outdoor Heritage Council will make recommendations for 1/8 of the new sales tax revenue. The council is made up of a group of Minnesotan's asked to collaborate and develop priority conservation spending areas for the projected revenue.