State Biennial Budget Updates
As of May 5, 2015
By way of update to the budget news reported in last week’s CLCC Enews, the Finance, Revenue and Bonding Committee’s Revenue Package, approved on April 29, includes the following proposals related to land conservation. The package now moves on to the Senate for a vote:
- DEEP: CUTS the [Open Space & Watershed Land Acquisition Program] Matching Grants by $2 million each year, down to $8 million for each of the next two fiscal years (Governor's Biennial Budget proposed $10 million for FY16 and FY 17)
- DEEP: ELIMINATES funding for the Recreation and Natural Heritage Trust Fund (DEEP's source of funding for acquisition of land for conservation and recreation) for each of the next two fiscal years (Governor's Biennial Budget proposed $10 million for FY16 and FY17)
- DoAG: ELIMINATES $10 million for the Department of Agriculture's (DoAg) Farmland Preservation Program (PDR program), for each of the next two fiscal year (Governor's Biennial Budget proposed $10 million for FY16 and FY17)
- DEEP: INCLUDES $5 million in bonding for a Bikeway, Recreational Trails and Greenway Program for each of the next two fiscal years (to be used primarily for grants).
Community Investment Act:
In another bill, the Finance Committee restored half of the funds for the Community Investment Act that the Governor had proposed to completely eliminate. While an improvement, this proposed sweep is still significant and unprecedented and will devastate the CIA programs. We will continue to push for full restoration of these dedicated funds in support of open space, farmland/dairy support, historic properties and affordable housing.
As of April 29, 2015
The Appropriations Committee passed its proposed Biennial Budget on April 27, which now moves on to the House for a vote. To review the full Appropriations Committee Budget, click HERE.
- DEEP budget: INCREASES a little less than $2 million per year over the Governor’s budget, with about a $1 million of the increase for the Aquaculture division, which is being proposed for transfer from DoAg to DEEP
- State Parks: RESTORES all but $100,000 of the $2 million cut by the Governor’s budget in each of the two years
- Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ): RESTORES full funding and recommends that the agency not be transferred to Legislative Branch, as was proposed in the Governor’s budget
- Conservation Districts and Soil and Water Councils: RESTORES most ($270,000) of their current budget, which had been eliminated completely in the Governor’s budget.
- DoAg: CUTS approximately $1 million from the budget, in part because of transfer of Aquaculture Division to DEEP. ADDS a line item of $30,000 per year in each of the two years for Urban Oaks Farm in New Britain. (Note that there is still a bill pending in the Finance Committee to take $25,000 per year in support of the farm in FY16 and 17 from CIA funds)
- Community Investment Act: The Deficiency Bill, which included a $15.2 million cut from CIA for current fiscal year - including $10 million from DEEP’s open space matching grants program was NOT taken up by the Committee, but we will still have to monitor this bill carefully. Link to CIA Lobby Day News is HERE.