SAINT PAUL, Minn. — Today, the Minnesota House approved legislation to appropriate $630 million from Legacy Amendment funds. The legislation (HF 653) was introduced by Rep. Leon Lillie (DFL – North St. Paul) and passed 100 – 26.
“Minnesotans care about our state and cherish the things that make it such a special place to live,” said Rep. Lillie, Chair of the House Legacy Finance Division. “Thanks to their support, the Legacy Amendment has benefited communities across the state for a decade. Let’s build on that success and preserve our great outdoors and rich heritage for future generations.”
In 2008, Minnesotans voted in favor of adopting the Legacy Amendment. The constitutional amendment increased sales taxes by three-eighths of one percent for 25 years and divided the revenue between four funds. The Outdoor Heritage Fund and Clean Water Fund each receive 33 percent of the revenue. The Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund and Parks and Trails Fund receive 19.75 percent and 14.25 percent, respectively.
The legislation includes Outdoor Heritage Fund investments that would protect and enhance 10,020 acres of wetlands, 108,384 acres of prairies, 14,598 acres of forest, and 8,216 acres of aquatic habitat. It also supports efforts to restore habitat for fish, game, and wildlife. The bill is largely identical to recommendations provided by the Lessard-Sams Outdoor Heritage Council.
Revenue from the Clean Water Fund protects water quality in lakes, rivers, and streams and prevents contamination of drinking water sources and groundwater. Provisions to assess water quality statewide, help local governments implement projects, and support innovative research on agricultural practices that conserve water and soil are included in the legislation. The Clean Water Council contributed greatly to these proposals. A few additions were made to meet some emergent issues facing Minnesota’s waters.
Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund expenditures preserve Minnesota’s history and cultural heritage and support the arts, arts education, and arts access. A portion of the funds is dedicated to the State Arts Board and Regional Arts Councils. The legislation also includes support for children’s museums, regional libraries, public radio and television, zoos and aquariums, language preservation efforts, county fairs, and other programs that preserve historic resources and diverse cultural traditions.
Resources from the Parks and Trails Fund are dedicated to connecting Minnesotans to the outdoors and creating opportunities for recreation. Funding to maintain and improve parks and trails in Greater Minnesota and the metro area is included, along with support for state parks, trails, and recreation areas. Measures to improve coordination between the Department of Natural Resources, the Metropolitan Council, the Greater Minnesota Parks and Trails Commission, and agencies that operate parks and trails throughout the state are also incorporated.
A spreadsheet of the bill’s contents is available here.