Rick Scott Wants to Cut Everglades Restoration Funding by 66 Percent, But Most Floridians Disagree

Sure, it's just a big swamp, but a fervor to protect the Everglades flows through the souls of most Floridians. It's our big swamp, dammit, and most of us understand its ecological importance. Apparently, though, our Illinois-born governor, Rick Scott, doesn't share such a passion. His controversial budget proposal includes a measure to slash spending for Everglades restoration from an already scant $50 million a year to a mere $17 million. A new poll shows 55 percent of Floridians oppose the cuts.

Kirk Fordham, CEO of the Everglades Foundation, acknowledges Tallahassee's financial problems but points out that money dedicated to Everglades restoration has already taken a serious hit in recent years. Republican Gov. Jeb Bush dedicated $200 million to Everglades restoration during his term.

"We've already taken a significant hit -- from 200 million, to 100 million, down to 50, and now, potentially, down to 17 million annually," he told the Capitol News Service. "We believe that everyone needs to share the pain, but again, the Everglades restoration has already taken a disproportionate hit."

A new poll commissioned by the Everglades Foundation and conducted by the Tarrance Group, a Republican-aligned polling firm, finds that 65 percent of Floridians surveyed said Everglades restoration was an "extremely or very important issue." Fifty-five percent opposed Scott's proposed cuts.

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Kyle Munzenrieder