Each real estate transaction in Tennessee contributes a fraction of one percent of the transfer tax to a fund that is the major funding mechanism for land and water conservation projects each year, average annual total $15 million.
As state budgets have been strained periodically, these monies are sometimes redirected to the General State Operating Account. The TN Parks and Greenways Foundation has spearheaded for the last two years the Forever Green campaign to have those monies redirected to their stated intention.There are 4 funds:Wetlands Fund
Conserves wildlife and water and places to hunt and fish.State Land Acquisition Fund
Saves our scenic treasures in state parks and forests.Local Parks & Recreation Fund
Builds great local parks and greenways. Leverages 50% match from local governments.Agricultural Resources Conservation Fund
Helps farmers and protects our drinking water by providing cost-share programs to reduce pollution in our streams.
One Wednesday, May 11, 2011, Governor Bill Haslam met with members of the Forever Green Tennessee coalition to endorse the campaign and further show his support for the Tennessee Real Estate Transfer Funds (which he has already done twice by including the RETF in both of his FY 2011-12 proposed budgets).
In the photo are:
Bottom Row, from Left:
Jeanne Nelson (Land Trust for Tennessee), Stewart Clifton (TN Conservation Voters), Kathleen Williams (TN Parks & Greenways Foundation), Governor Bill Haslam, Melinda Welton (TN Ornithological Society), John Noel (Southern Alliance for Clean Energy), Gary Myers (former director, TN Wildlife Resources Agency)
Middle Row, from Left:
Neal Appelbaum (Stones River Watershed Assn.), Danny Sells (TN Association of Conservation Districts), Anne Ross (TCV), Daniel Boone (TN Scenic River Association), Bill Terry (TCV & Sierra Club), Donnie Safer (TN Environmental Council)
Top Row, from Left:
Rex Boner (The Conservation Fund), Mike Butler (TN Wildlife Fund), Rep. Ryan Williams (representing the Save Cummins Falls campaign), Bob Tuke (representing several historical and conservation organizations), Mike Murphy (Sierra Club), Ralph Knoll (The Conservation Fund)