that for conservation to become a permanent reality, it needed a broad, stable financial base. The vision, called the Design for Conservation, was proposed to Missouri citizens in 1970. It was a long-reaching strategic plan for conservation in Missouri. It included a pledge to obtain land for recreation, forestry and protection of critical habitat. Design also called for increased services to the public in the areas of wildlife and forest conservation, and for conservation nature centers throughout Missouri.
To fund the Design for Conservation, citizens petitioned to put another constitutional amendment, Amendment 1, on the ballot in 1975. The petition garnered 208,000 signatures of support, more than double the minimum required to place the proposed amendment on the ballot. The amendment called for a one-eighth of 1 percent sales tax. The vote in November of 1976 allowed for the implementation of Design for Conservation. The conservation sales tax, as it became known, means that for every $8 spent on taxable items, one penny goes to conservation. This dedicated sales tax provides consistent funding for the long-term efforts required for the conservation of forests, fish and wildlife. The Department received $95,818,338 in fiscal year 2011 as a result of the conservation sales tax. This revenue makes up about 58 percent of the Department’s annual operating budget—no money from the state’s general revenue goes to the Department. These numbers sound impressive, yet MDC’s entire budget is comparable to less than 1 percent of the entire state government budget. And conservation pays its way in Missouri—the amount of state sales tax revenue generated from fish and wildlife recreation and the forest products industry is about the same as the sales tax revenue received by MDC from the conservation sales tax.
Missourians Care About Conservation
Missourians have achieved some amazing results. We have restored and conserved dozens of fish and wildlife species, ensured that Missouri is a great place to hunt and fish, transformed forestry into a sustainable industry, created a system devoted to serving both rural and urban private landowners, invested in the hearts of major urban areas to encourage participation in the outdoors, developed an accessible network of public lands and facilities, and partnered the entire way with citizens and communities throughout the state.
Conservation enriches our economy and our quality of life. Today, conservation—wise use—of forest, fish and wildlife resources has a proven and important track record. These resources have a tremendous positive impact at