Forever Wild Proposed Legislation .
In the middle of a recession, should Alabama Taxpayers spend $300 Million to purchase more land for so-called conservation efforts, or should the funds be used to build more highways and create thousands of needed jobs in Alabama? Alabamians are told that funds for "Forever Wild" do not cost them a penny because they come from Alabama gas royalties for the Alabama Trust Fund. But there is no such thing as a free lunch!
Background Since its initial funding in 1992, Forever Wild has acquired over 222,000 acres in 22 counties, which are equitably distributed across Alabama. These acquisitions have been funded through the stipulations of Constitutional Amendment 543 – the interest earnings from investments within the Alabama Trust Fund, which are derived from gas royalties from Alabama’s submerged lands in coastal waters. This process is often referred to as “conservation currency,” whereby one form of natural resource (Alabama’s natural gas) is being converted and invested into another (land).
Over 222,000 acres of Alabama land have been taken out of production of the private sector (and the tax rolls) and converted into idle, non production status. We have seen the federal government, especially under President Bill Clinton, grab thousands of acres of land, and take them out of use from the private sector. Forever Wild is the state version of what Bill Clinton has done for the environmental "land grab" lobby.
Forever Wild sets aside 10 percent of the investment income from the state's oil and gas trust fund to purchase land, thus taking these lands off of the tax rolls. This reduces tax revenues, creating an additional burden for the average taxpayer. Moreover, since money is fungible, that $300 million is money that taxpayers will not be able to use for things like highway and bridge maintenance. So taxpayers will, again, be forced to make up the difference-- or drive on bad roads and dangerous bridges.
Forever Wild Constitutional Amendment - November 2012To add even more funds to the Alabama Forever Wild Program, will be voted on as a Constitutional Amendment in the November 2012 election. If the Alabama legislature agreed to cut state spending by $300 million, then Forever Wild would truly not cost taxpayers a penny. But no legislator is suggesting this plan.
We suggest using the $300 million in gas royalties to obtain credit for federal matching funds to build and repair highways and create thousands of much needed jobs all over Alabama.
Leading the charge against the new expanded Forever Wild Program is the Alabama Alliance for Citizens Rights.
• As of Sept. 30, the program had $24 million in its stewardship fund for the perpetual care of Forever Wild properties.
• Forever Wild has on hand over $15 million for the purchase of even more land.
• These funds would ensure the continuation of Forever Wild, regardless of whether additional funding is authorized. Even if the Legislature does not act this year, it could still reauthorize Forever Wild next year without interrupting the flow of new money into the program.
• If the Legislature does nothing, Forever Wild will still get nearly four million dollars a year, (two and a half percent of all future incoming trust fund money) for so-called maintenance expenses. Or if they chose to use that money to purchase additional land instead - that much money will buy 1875 acres of new land, (at an average cost of two thousand dollars per acre), every single year thereafter. That amounts to a tract three miles wide by one mile deep.
• Forever Wild has already spent a little over 160 million dollars of taxpayer money to acquire over 220 thousand acres.
• Forever Wild in conjunction with several other conservation groups have accumulated one tract encompassing over 100,000 acres north of Mobile. They brag that, “a bear can run in a straight line for over 40 miles without ever leaving their property.”
• Just how much land do these folks want to take? When is enough - enough?
Forever Wild Program costs Alabama Taxpayers Millions
Heartless environmentalists want hard working Alabamians laid off! This is a religion to the Earth First crowd, environment before people. Whatever happen to common sense, individual rights and private property? The Alabama Forever Wild Program costs the Alabama tax payers millions of dollars every year.
That's right, greedy environmentalist aren't satisfied with $3,750,000.00 annually to maintain private land purchased for the program. They want an additional $11,250,000.00 – a total of $15,000,000.00 of your money to take more land out of private hands. This $11,250,000 of our money could maintain infrastructure and prevent lay-offs.
Forever Wild land produces - NOTHING – neither tax revenue or wealth. They sell this as feel good environment protection, with fancy websites that tug at the natural instincts of Alabama hunters and outdoor advocates. As Government locks up land we the people loose the use of the natural resources that these lands provide.
"Forever Wild, a 1992 Constitutional Amendment is funded by 10% of the annual earnings on the Alabama Trust Fund, not to exceed $15 Million in any one year. This funding mechanism does not expire until the beginning of state FY2013. If the Alabama Legislature fails to renew the funding mechanism as outlined in Section 7 of Amendment 543 (Forever Wild Amendment), 2.5% of the annual earnings on the Alabama Trust Fund will continue to be paid into the Forever Wild Stewardship Account. The remaining 7.5% that would previously be paid into the Forever Wild Land Trust will not revert to the State General Fund.” By operation of law, the remaining 7.5% that has previously been paid into the Forever Wild Land Trust will be deposited into the Alabama Trust Fund. The Legislature under Section 13 of the Forever Wild Amendment “may at any time” provide funding for the program. What to do? Contact your State Representative and ask – Why were you elected to office – to spend money that we don't have?!!
What is happening in the Alabama Legislature right now.See the Alabama State Legislative Watch Team How can an entity be overseen for mismanagement when they answer to no one? Forever Wild was started in 1992 the same time UN Agenda 21 came into being with I may add seeking the same goals (taking land out of private ownership). Forever Wild is backed by the same socialist entities that back Agenda 21 and when Forever Wild takes over enough spaces that appear to match up closely w/ Agenda 21 maps do you really believe these folks give one whit about letting people in to violate animal habitats much less a hunter? Fools and our trust money will surely part. Don't waste $300 mil more for this program when state forest and other areas are being closed or have limited hours because of funding.
Proposed Conservative Laws for Alabama