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Property deed taxes to rise

Gov. Lawton Chiles signed a tax increase on property deeds into law Friday to pay for a second year of the state's Preservation 2000 land-buying program. Chiles signed the bill on a Wakulla Springs State Park dock and took a boat tour of the 2,900-acre reserve, viewing its freshwater springs and alligators with officials and reporters.

"The Preservation 2000 program is an insurance policy to help guarantee that our children will be able to enjoy the same Florida we know today," he said.

The bill provides for $300-million in second-year funding for the program intended to buy and preserve unique wetlands, beaches and forests.

That includes $150-million to the Conservation and Recreation Lands program under which the state purchased Wakulla Springs in 1986, $90-million to the Save Our Rivers program, $30 million to the Florida Communities Trust, $9-million each for state parks, state forests and wildlife preserves, and $3-million for the Florida Rails to Trail program.

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