BEST USE OF TAXPAYER MONEY (2008)

Land conservation grants

A couple hundred years back, Minnesota was covered by 18 million acres of prairie. Today, less than 1 percent remains. Worth protecting, right? Enter land conservation grants, which reward landowners who pledge not to farm or build on their property. The grants also go toward offsetting tax write-offs for owners of primary-growth prairie, buying woods to turn them into protected areas, and paying for restoration and upkeep of state land. Sadly, most of the state and federal dollars that have funded these projects for decades have in recent years dried up, victims of budget shortfalls and—let's say it together now—"no new taxes."

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