In 1988 Florida voters approved a constitutional amendment that would allow local officials to allow property tax breaks for land that offers high recharge value to the aquifer.
The idea was championed by the late Henry Swanson, a longtime head of the Orange County Extension Office.
The Legislature left it up to counties to decide whether to authorize the tax break. There were few if any takers.
Now comes Denise Grimsley, a Republican candidate for Florida agriculture commissioner, who has issued an extensive position paper on water, which includes encouraging more counties to enact the tax break.
The tricky part of this tax break is what the incentive means for landowners.
For instance, if the property already has a greenbelt classification, the taxes are already pretty low.
To qualify for another exemption, the landowners would have to establish whether their property qualifies for the additional tax break.
This requires some kind of technical evaluation, according to a 1990 U.S. Geological Survey pilot study to determine how this all might work.
Most of the rest of Grimsley’s views on water resources and water pollution pretty much mirror the existing philosophy in Tallahassee and those of the current ag commissioner.