Voters Approved Majority of
'96 Environmental Initiatives
Voters approved 70 percent of the more than 150 conservation finance measures on ballots nationwide in 1996, according to a survey by the Trust for Public Land, a national conservation organization.
New Yorkers and Californians voted for new financing to improve water quality and supplies. Elsewhere, voters approved conservation and recreation programs in Missouri and Arkansas, a $200 million bond in Dade County, Fla., and a $319 million property tax assessment for parks in Los Angeles County.
The results challenge conventional wisdom that citizens are indiscriminately voting down tax increases, said Phyllis Myers, who conducted the survey and edits the Trust for Public Land's newsletter, GreenSense. Based in Washington, the Trust helps community groups acquire and protect land for public use.
Myers said that while voters are demanding more of a say in decisions about spending and taxing, they're also saying "close-to-home green measures are consistent with careful spending."
The trend has continued in voter initiatives this year, according to Myers. In January, for example, voters in Albuquerque, N.M., approved a sales tax hike to buy 9,600 acres of open space and improve 25 city parks. It was the first such increase in 20 years, she said.
Similar ballot measures have been adopted this year by voters in Bucks County, Pa., Colorado Springs, Colo., and Pima County, Ariz.
Posted October 22, 1997