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Tribue Editorial: If you love clean lakes, support this amendment

If you love clean lakes, you should support the Clean Water, Wildlife and Legacy Amendment to the state constitution.

If passed, the measure will raise the state sales tax three-eighths of one percent to fund various environmental and cultural programs.

Minnesota Deer Hunters Association Executive Director Mark Johnson, on a swing through Detroit Lakes, said the amendment goes a long way to ensure that funding is there to protect Minnesota's natural resources.

"What that means throughout every year for Minnesota is $273 million," Johnson said.

The bill directs the sales tax revenues into four separate funds. A third goes into a clean water fund and another third is set aside for wildlife habitat.

The final third is split between an arts fund, and parks and trails.

Here's the breakdown: Of the $273 million that would be raised each year, 33 percent would go to fund fish, game and wildlife habitat. Another 33 percent would be put to use for clean lakes, rivers and streams. Parks and trails would receive 14.25 percent, and arts and youth access would receive 19.75 percent.

For the average family, that means spending a few more pennies at the grocery store, said Vote Yes for Minnesota supporter and long-time conservationist Dave Zentner.

"This is a chance of a lifetime," Zentner said during the Detroit Lakes visit. "On a $10 purchase, you are going to pay 3 or 4 cents more than you are paying now."

Anderson and Zentner aren't alone in their support for the measure.

Former Govs. Wendell Anderson and Arne Carlson wrote in a Star Tribune editorial, "We are nearing a tipping point in the fight to preserve what we enjoy today for future generations.

"Funding for clean water, access to the outdoors, arts access and education, and our parks and trails is at or near 30-year lows," they noted. "Forty percent of Minnesota's tested waters are polluted. One million acres of open land are set to be lost over the next 25 years."

Vote yes on the amendment -- don't leave it blank on the ballot, that counts as a "no" vote -- and future generations of Minnesotans will be able to enjoy the state as much as older Minnesotans have for years.