Governor Sanford’s proposal to budget an additional $50 million for land conservation is an outstanding move. He is correct when he says, “If you develop every square inch around each one of the metropolitan areas of this state, one of the inevitable byproducts is a deterioration of the quality of life that people experience in this state.”(Post&Courier, 12.11.07)
But it is not just for quality of life, but for the long term economic health of the state that makes this proposal imperative. Politicians in this state need to start asking themselves what needs to be done to make the 21st century South Carolina’s century. What needs to be done to ensure that South Carolina continues to improve economically and continues to build the wealth and increase the well being of its citizens, not just in the short term but in the long term as well.
Mark Sanford, in this proposal, embodies these ideals and is taking the long view as to what is best for our state.
Dan Cooper, House Ways and Means committee Chairman says of the proposal, “If we have $50 million, I’d rather we invest it in something that is going to produce jobs for the state.’’ (The State, 12.11.07) Dan Cooper, in this instance, does not seem to have his eyes on the prize, which is knowing that fully funding the Conservation Land Bank will create jobs. Developers and investors will want to build and invest in areas that have a higher incidence of preserved land, and the quality of development and investment will be higher as well.
As our population continues to rise, nothing is going to pay dividends to the citizens of our state in increased wealth and well being like the proposed increase in funding of the Conservation Land Bank. Open land is and should continue to be one of our states greatest resources, and the time to preserve it is now, before it is too late. Remember, wealth goes to where the quality of life is good, and doesn’t stick around when it turns bad. One simple key to keeping it good is the full funding of the Conservation Land Bank.