This year’s Legacy bill appropriates a portion of Minnesota’s sales tax revenue to four dedicated “Legacy” funds, as outlined by the Minnesota Constitution. $99.9 million is allocated for the Outdoor Heritage Fund, with $89.2 million for the Parks and Trails Fund and $120.9 million for the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund. The largest appropriation is left for the Clean Water Fund, with $224 million.
Thirty five proposals would receive funding for enhancement and restoration under the Outdoor Heritage Fund, and 162 miles of shoreline are anticipated to be further restored or protected. About 26% of the Outdoor Heritage Funds in the bill are allocated to forests in northern and southeastern parts of Minnesota. In addition, plans for about 1,865 acres of native prairie to be acquired by the state are included, and a further 2,143 acres of native prairie are to be restored and enhanced.
In the Parks and Trails Fund, $17.6 million is allocated each year for both State Parks and Metro Parks. The Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund supports many projects, including statewide services like Minnesota Public Television, Minnesota Public Radio, and the Minnesota Digital Library. Individual institutions like the Como and Lake Superior Zoos, Science Museum, and Children’s Museum are just some of the valuable resources receiving crucial support from the bill.
Finally, the Clean Water Fund provides support for many initiatives that promote drinkable and safe water for the entire state, including groundwater monitoring and agriculture water quality. After a recent revelation that Minnesota’s water is not as clean as many once thought, further investments into the Board of Water and Soil Resources and the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency take up much of the remaining appropriations within this section.
The bill was passed by the Senate on a 44-9 vote on Thursday, and now heads to conference committee. (S.F. 202)